Plant and Soil

, Volume 365, Issue 1–2, pp 141–155 | Cite as

Linking oxidative and salinity stress tolerance in barley: can root antioxidant enzyme activity be used as a measure of stress tolerance?

  • Jelena Dragišić Maksimović
  • Jingyi Zhang
  • Fanrong Zeng
  • Branka D. Živanović
  • Lana Shabala
  • Meixue Zhou
  • Sergey Shabala
Regular Article



A causal relationship between salinity and oxidative stress tolerance and a suitability of using root antioxidant activity as a biochemical marker for salinity tolerance in barley was investigated.


Net ion fluxes were measured from the mature zone of excised roots of two barley varieties contrasting in their salinity tolerance using non-invasive MIFE technique in response to acute and prolonged salinity treatment. These changes were correlated with activity of major antioxidant enzymes; ascorbate peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase.


It was found that genotypic difference in salinity tolerance was largely independent of root integrity, and observed not only for short-term but also long-term NaCl exposures. Higher K+ retention ability (and, hence, salinity tolerance) positively correlated with oxidative stress tolerance. At the same time, antioxidant activities were constitutively higher in a sensitive but not tolerant variety, and no correlation was found between SOD activity and salinity tolerance index during large-scale screening.


Although salinity tolerance in barley correlates with its oxidative stress tolerance, higher antioxidant activity at one particular time does not correlate with salinity tolerance and, as such, cannot be used as a biochemical marker in barley screening programs.


Oxidative stress Ascorbate peroxidase Superoxide dismutase Catalase Root Ion flux Potassium homeostasis Hydrogen peroxide Superoxide anion radical Hydroxyl radical 



ascorbate peroxidase


superoxide dismutase




reactive oxygen species


glutathione peroxidase



\( {\text{O}}{{\text{H}}^{\bullet }} \)

hydroxyl radical

\( ^{\bullet} {\text{O}}_2^{ - } \)

superoxide anion radical


stomatal conductance



This work was supported by Serbian Ministry of Education and Science (173040) to Dr Branka Živanović and the Australian Research Council and Grain Research and Development Corporation grants to Prof Sergey Shabala.

Supplementary material

11104_2012_1366_MOESM1_ESM.doc (28 kb)
Supplemental Table 1 Relative changes (% control) in whole-plant physiological responses of two contrasting barley genotypes to prolonged salinity treatment (300 mM NaCl for 6 weeks). (DOC 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelena Dragišić Maksimović
    • 1
  • Jingyi Zhang
    • 2
  • Fanrong Zeng
    • 1
  • Branka D. Živanović
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lana Shabala
    • 2
  • Meixue Zhou
    • 2
  • Sergey Shabala
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Multidisciplinary ResearchUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.School of Agricultural Science and Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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