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5-Aminolevulinic Acid Ameliorates the Growth, Photosynthetic Gas Exchange Capacity, and Ultrastructural Changes Under Cadmium Stress in Brassica napus L.

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Abstract

Heavy-metal toxicity in soil is one of the major constraints for oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) production. One of the best ways to overcome this constraint is the use of growth regulators to induce plant tolerance. Response to cadmium (Cd) toxicity in combination with a growth regulator, 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), was investigated in oilseed rape grown hydroponically in greenhouse conditions under three levels of Cd (0, 100, and 500 μM) and three levels of foliar application of ALA (0, 12.5, and 25 mg l−1). Cd decreased plant growth and the chlorophyll concentration in leaves. Foliar application of ALA improved plant growth and increased the chlorophyll concentration in the leaves of Cd-stressed plants. Significant reductions in photosynthetic parameters were observed by the addition of Cd alone. Application of ALA improved the net photosynthetic and gas exchange capacity of plants under Cd stress. ALA also reduced the Cd content in shoots and roots, which was elevated by high concentrations of Cd. The microscopic studies of leaf mesophyll cells under different Cd and ALA concentrations showed that foliar application of ALA significantly ameliorated the Cd effect and improved the structure of leaf mesophyll cells. However, the higher Cd concentration (500 μM) could totally damage leaf structure, and at this level the nucleus and intercellular spaces were not established as well; the cell membrane and cell wall were fused to each other. Chloroplasts were totally damaged and contained starch grains. However, foliar application of ALA improved cell structure under Cd stress and the visible cell structure had a nucleus, cell wall, and cell membrane. These results suggest that under 15-day Cd-induced stress, application of ALA helped improve plant growth, chlorophyll content, photosynthetic gas exchange capacity, and ultrastructural changes in leaf mesophyll cells of the rape plant.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2011AA10A206), Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303022), the National Key Science and Technology Supporting Program of China (2010BAD01B01), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31071698, 31170405), and the Science and Technology Department of Zhejiang Province (2012C12902-1, 2011R50026-5).

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Correspondence to W. J. Zhou.

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Ali, B., Wang, B., Ali, S. et al. 5-Aminolevulinic Acid Ameliorates the Growth, Photosynthetic Gas Exchange Capacity, and Ultrastructural Changes Under Cadmium Stress in Brassica napus L.. J Plant Growth Regul 32, 604–614 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-013-9328-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-013-9328-6

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