, Volume 255, Issue 3, pp 785–802 | Cite as

Salinity reduces 2,4-D efficacy in Echinochloa crusgalli by affecting redox balance, nutrient acquisition, and hormonal regulation

  • Faisal Islam
  • Yuan Xie
  • Muhammad A. Farooq
  • Jian Wang
  • Chong Yang
  • Rafaqat A. Gill
  • Jinwen Zhu
  • Weijun Zhou
Original Article


Distinct salinity levels have been reported to enhance plants tolerance to different types of stresses. The aim of this research is to assess the interaction of saline stress and the use of 2,4-D as a means of controlling the growth of Echinochloa crusgalli. The resultant effect of such interaction is vital for a sustainable approach of weed management and food production. The results showed that 2,4-D alone treatment reduces the chlorophyll contents, photosynthetic capacity, enhanced MDA, electrolyte leakage, and ROS production (H2O2, O2 ·−) and inhibited the activities of ROS scavenging enzymes. Further analysis of the ultrastructure of chloroplasts indicated that 2,4-D induced severe damage to the ultrastructure of chloroplasts and thylakoids. Severe saline stress (8 dS m−1) followed by mild saline stress treatments (4 dS m−1) also reduced the E. crusgalli growth, but had the least impact as compared to the 2,4-D alone treatment. Surprisingly, under combined treatments (salinity + 2,4-D), the phytotoxic effect of 2,4-D was reduced on saline-stressed E. crusgalli plants, especially under mild saline + 2,4-D treatment. This stimulated growth of E. crusgalli is related to the higher activities of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants and dynamic regulation of IAA, ABA under mild saline + 2,4-D treatment. This shows that 2,4-D efficacy was affected by salinity in a stress intensity-dependent manner, which may result in the need for greater herbicide application rates, additional application times, or more weed control operations required for controlling salt-affected weed.


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid Abscisic acid Indole acetic acid Salinity ROS Antioxidants 



Abscisic acid


1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid


Ascorbate peroxidase




Cell wall


Diaminobenzidine tetrahydrochloride


Indole acetic acid


Hydrogen peroxide






Nitro blue tetrazolium










Reactive oxygen species


Starch grain


Superoxide dismutase


Thiobarbituric acid


Trichloroacetic acid


Phenolic content


Electrolyte leakage


Oxidize glutathione content


Reduced glutathione;


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid


Funding information

This study was supported by the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303022), the Science and Technology Department of Zhejiang Province (2016C02050-8, 2016C32089), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31170405), Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production, and the 111 Project (B06014).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faisal Islam
    • 1
  • Yuan Xie
    • 1
  • Muhammad A. Farooq
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jian Wang
    • 1
  • Chong Yang
    • 1
  • Rafaqat A. Gill
    • 1
  • Jinwen Zhu
    • 3
  • Weijun Zhou
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Crop Science and Zhejiang Key Laboratory of Crop GermplasmZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Institute of Pure and Applied BiologyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Pesticide and Environmental Toxicology and Ministry of Agriculture Key Lab of Molecular Biology of Crop Pathogens and InsectsZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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