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Assimilatory deficit and energy regulation in young Handroanthus chrysotrichus plants under flooding stress


Flooding negatively influences the growth and development of several plant species. Here, we show that the flood tolerance of young Handroanthus chrysotrichus plants involves growth deficit, carbon assimilation reductions, starch remobilization, and energy regulation. The effect of hypoxia was evaluated in a controlled experiment consisting of plants subjected to normoxia and water-logging, with later recovery. We measured morphological changes, gas exchange, photosynthetic pigments, soluble carbohydrates and starch contents, the activity of the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), and pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC), and ATP and ADP levels. While control plants showed normal appearance and growth, flooded plants exhibited a drastic decrease in growth, necrosis of some root tips, hypertrophic lenticels on the stems, and foliar chlorosis. Oxygen deprivation in root cells led to a significant decrease in stomatal conductance. The low Amax rates caused a decline in foliar soluble sugar content at 20 days and a subsequent increase in the leaves and roots, coinciding with starch degradation at 40 days. We also observed increases of 220.5% in ADH and 292% in PDC activities in the roots at 20 and 40 days of flooding. The activation of anaerobic metabolism in stressed plants was an essential mechanism for ATP regulation in both tissues used to maintain a minimal metabolism to cope with hypoxia to the detriment of growth. The post-stress recovery process in H. chrysotrichus occurred slowly, with gas exchange gradually resumed and anaerobic metabolism and sugar content maintained to improve energy regulation.

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The research was supported by Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul. The authors thank Marcio Tomaz de Assis for his technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Evandro Alves Vieira.

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Bispo, T.M., Vieira, E.A. Assimilatory deficit and energy regulation in young Handroanthus chrysotrichus plants under flooding stress. J Plant Res 135, 323–336 (2022).

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