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Protective effects of hydrogen-rich water on the photosynthetic apparatus of maize seedlings (Zea mays L.) as a result of an increase in antioxidant enzyme activities under high light stress

Abstract

Hydrogen gas (H2) is an endogenous gaseous molecule in plants. Although it is recently described as an important bio-regulator in plants, the role of H2 in high light stress amelioration is largely unknown. This study investigated the mechanism of hydrogen-rich water (HRW)-mediated enhancement of tolerance against high light stress of maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings. Maize seedlings were supplied with different concentrations of HRW and its effects on the plant growth, the chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, the activities of several antioxidative enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and glutathione reductase (GR), the levels of superoxide radical (O2 ), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and the degrees of the oxidative damage to the membrane lipids under high light stress were examined. With respect to samples treated with high light stress alone, exogenous H2 pretreatments differentially attenuated the damage of photosynthetic apparatus by high irradiance. Further results showed that concentration-dependent effects of HRW were shown in stressed maize seedlings. Exogenous H2 supplement could elevate the activities of antioxidative enzymes, including SOD, CAT, APX, and GR. These results were confirmed by the alleviation of oxidative damage, as indicated by a decrease of the level of O2 and H2O2 as well as the content of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances. Taken together, our results suggested that exogenous H2 treatment could protect the photosynthetic apparatus from photo-damage through mitigating photo-oxidation enabled by a high level of antioxidative enzyme activities.

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Abbreviations

ANOVA:

One-way analysis of variance

APX:

Ascorbate peroxidase

ASC:

Ascorbic acid

CAT:

Catalase

Chl:

Chlorophyll

DAB:

3,3′-Diaminobenzidinc

DI/RC:

The specific energy fluxes for dissipation per reaction center

EDTA:

Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid

Fo :

Initial fluorescence intensity

Fm :

Maximal fluorescence intensity

Fv :

Variable fluorescence in dark-adapted leaves

Fv/Fm :

Maximum quantum yield of PSII photochemistry

FW:

Fresh weight

GR:

Glutathione reductase

H2 :

Hydrogen gas

H2O2 :

Hydrogen peroxide

HL:

High light

HRW:

Hydrogen-rich water

NADPH:

Reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate

NBT:

Nitro blue tetrazolium

O2 :

Superoxide radical

OEC:

Oxygen-evolving complex

PIABS :

Performance index on an absorption basis

Pn :

Net Photosynthetic rate

PPFD:

Photosynthetic photon flux density

PSII:

Photosystem II

RC:

Reaction center

RC/CS:

The amount of active PSII reaction centers per excited cross section

ROS:

Reactive oxygen species

SOD:

Superoxide dismutase

TBARS:

Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances

Vj:

The relative fluorescence intensity of J-step

1−Vj:

The efficiency with which a trapped exciton can move an electron into the electron transport chain further than Q A

Vk:

The variable fluorescence at 300 μs

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Zhang, X., Zhao, X., Wang, Z. et al. Protective effects of hydrogen-rich water on the photosynthetic apparatus of maize seedlings (Zea mays L.) as a result of an increase in antioxidant enzyme activities under high light stress. Plant Growth Regul 77, 43–56 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10725-015-0033-2

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Keywords

  • Hydrogen-rich water (HRW)
  • Maize seedlings
  • High light stress
  • Antioxidant enzymes