Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 2369–2376 | Cite as

Phytotoxic effects of β-pinene on early growth and associated biochemical changes in rice

  • Nadia Chowhan
  • Harminder Pal Singh
  • Daizy R. Batish
  • Ravinder K. Kohli
Original Paper


β-Pinene, an oxygenated monoterpene, is one of the major monoterpenes emitted into the atmosphere from forest areas and trees. Besides, it is a principal component of essential oils of a number of aromatic plants, which are involved in a variety of ecological interactions, including allelopathy, in the natural environment. However, studies pertaining to phytotoxicity and biochemical effect(s) of β-pinene are largely lacking. We investigated the effect of β-pinene (0.02, 0.04, 0.08, 0.20, 0.40 and 0.80 mg/ml) in a dose- and time-dependent manner on early seedling growth, dry weight accumulation, photosynthetic pigments and changes in macromolecule (protein and carbohydrate) content and activities of enzymes—proteases, α- and β-amylases, polyphenol oxidases and peroxidases- in rice (Oryza sativa) after 3rd, 5th and 7th day of exposure. β-pinene (≥0.04 mg/ml) significantly reduced the root (by 13–87%) and coleoptile (by 5–80%) length of rice. Exposure to β-pinene reduced total chlorophyll content in rice coleoptiles suggesting a negative impact on photosynthesis. The content of macromolecules (proteins and carbohydrates) enhanced significantly in response to β-pinene, whereas the activities of hydrolyzing enzymes—proteases, α-amylases, and β-amylases—declined (by 30–85, 26–84, 27–74%, respectively) in β-pinene-exposed seedlings. In contrast, the activities of peroxidases (POX) and polyphenol oxidases (PPO) enhanced significantly (by 16–152 and 53–290%, respectively) in rice roots in response to β-pinene in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Increased activities of POX and PPO indicate their involvement in providing protection and/or conferring resistance against β-pinene-induced stress. The study concludes that β-pinene inhibits the early growth of rice by altering the plant biochemical status and enhancing activities of POXs and PPOs involved in general plant defense.


β-Pinene Biochemical alterations Chlorophyll content Oxygenated monoterpene Peroxidases Polyphenol oxidases 



Nadia Chowhan is thankful to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, for the BSR fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Chowhan
    • 1
  • Harminder Pal Singh
    • 2
  • Daizy R. Batish
    • 1
  • Ravinder K. Kohli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.Department of Environment and Vocational StudiesPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia

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