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24-Epibrassinolide mitigates nickel toxicity in young Eucalyptus urophylla S.T. Blake plants: nutritional, physiological, biochemical, anatomical and morphological responses

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Abstract

Key message

Our research revealed that 24-epibrassinolide alleviated nickel toxicity in young Eucalyptus urophylla plants, inducing benefits on nutritional, physiological, biochemical, anatomical and morphological responses.

Context

Soil contamination by heavy metals may limit the Eucalyptus production. Disturbances caused by nickel (Ni) toxicity interfere with the absorption of other essential nutrients. 24-Epibrassinolide (EBR) is one form of brassinosteroid (BR) that provides benefits for plant metabolism under Ni toxicity.

Aims

The aim of this study was to determine whether exogenous EBR can improve ionic homeostasis by evaluating nutrient concentrations, anatomical characteristics and chlorophyll fluorescence in young Eucalyptus urophylla plants subjected to Ni toxicity.

Methods

The experiment was randomized into four treatments, including two Ni concentrations (0 and 600 μM Ni) and two 24-epibrassinolide concentrations (0 and 100 nM EBR).

Results

EBR significantly reduced Ni contents. Plants exposed to Ni2+ and sprayed with steroid had increases in the Ca2+/Ni2+ and Mn2+/Ni2+ ratios in the leaves of 38% and 15%, respectively, compared with the same treatment without EBR. The treatment of Ni2+ toxicity + EBR presented an increase of 42% in effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, when compared with plants exposed to Ni without EBR. Ni toxicity induced negative effects on stomatal functionality, but EBR application mitigated these effects.

Conclusion

Benefits on effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry after EBR spray can be related to increases in manganese contents. EBR reduced oxidative stress, alleviating the deleterious effects induced by Ni toxicity and inducing positive repercussions on antioxidant enzymes, photosynthetic pigments and biomass.

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Abbreviations

BRs:

Brassinosteroids

C i :

Intercellular CO2 concentration

E :

Transpiration rate

EBR:

24-epibrassinolide

EDS:

Equatorial diameter of the stomata

EL:

Electrolyte leakage

ETAb:

Epidermis thickness from abaxial leaf side

ETAd:

Epidermis thickness from adaxial leaf side

ETR:

Electron transport rate

ETR/P N :

Ratio between the apparent electron transport rate and net photosynthetic rate

EXC:

Relative energy excess at the PSII level

F0 :

Minimal fluorescence yield of the dark-adapted state

Fe:

Iron

Fm :

Maximal fluorescence yield of the dark-adapted state

Fv :

Variable fluorescence

Fv/Fm :

Maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry

NPQ:

Nonphotochemical quenching

NRAMP:

Natural resistance-associated macrophage protein

PDS:

Polar diameter of the stomata

P N :

Net photosynthetic rate

P N/C i :

Instantaneous carboxylation efficiency

PPT:

Palisade parenchyma thickness

qP :

Photochemical quenching

RCD:

Root cortex diameter

RDM:

Root dry matter

RMD:

Root metaxylem diameter

RDT:

Root endodermis thickness

RET:

Root epidermis thickness

SD:

Stomatal density

SDM:

Stem dry matter

SF:

Stomatal functionality

SI:

Stomatal index

SPT:

Spongy parenchyma thickness

TDM:

Total dry matter

Total Chl:

Total chlorophyll

VCD:

Vascular cylinder diameter

WUE:

Water-use efficiency

ZIP:

ZRT/IRT-like protein

ΦPSII :

Effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry

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Ribeiro, A.T., de Oliveira, V.P., de Oliveira Barros Junior, U. et al. 24-Epibrassinolide mitigates nickel toxicity in young Eucalyptus urophylla S.T. Blake plants: nutritional, physiological, biochemical, anatomical and morphological responses. Annals of Forest Science 77, 5 (2020) doi:10.1007/s13595-019-0909-9

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Keywords

  • Eucalyptus urophylla
  • Light capture
  • Metal contamination
  • Nutritional balance
  • 24-epibrassinolide