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Azadirachta indica and Ocimum sanctum leaf extracts alleviate arsenic toxicity by reducing arsenic uptake and improving antioxidant system in rice seedlings

Abstract

In the present study the potentials of aqueous extracts of the two plants, neem (Azadirachta indica) and Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) were examined in alleviating arsenic toxicity in rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants grown in hydroponics. Seedlings of rice grown for 8 days in nutrient solution containing 50 μM sodium arsenite showed decline in growth, reduced biomass, altered membrane permeability and increased production of superoxide anion (O·−2), H2O2 and hydroxyl radicals (·OH). Increased lipid peroxidation marked by elevated TBARS (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) level, increased protein carbonylation, alterated levels of ascorbate, glutathione and increased activities of enzymes SOD (superoxide dismutase), CAT (catalase), APX (ascorbate peroxidase) and GPX (glutathione peroxidase) were noted in the seedlings on As treatment. Exogenously added leaf aqueous extracts of Azadirachta indica (0.75 mg mL−1, w/v) and Ocimum sanctum (0.87 mg mL−1, w/v) in the growth medium considerably alleviated As toxicity effects in the seedlings, marked by reduced As uptake, restoration of membrane integrity, reduced production of ROS, lowering oxidative damage and restoring the levels of ascorbate, glutathione and activity levels of antioxidative enzymes. Arsenic uptake in the seedlings declined by 72.5% in roots and 72.8% in shoots, when A. indica extract was present in the As treatment medium whereas with O. sanctum extract, the uptake declined by 67.2% in roots and 70.01% in shoots. Results suggest that both A. indica and O. sanctum aqueous extracts have potentials to alleviate arsenic toxicity in rice plants and that A. indica can serve as better As toxicity alleviator compared to O. sanctum.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi for providing financial assistance to AG in form of research fellowship.

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Correspondence to Rama Shanker Dubey.

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Gautam, A., Pandey, A.K. & Dubey, R.S. Azadirachta indica and Ocimum sanctum leaf extracts alleviate arsenic toxicity by reducing arsenic uptake and improving antioxidant system in rice seedlings. Physiol Mol Biol Plants 26, 63–81 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12298-019-00730-z

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Keywords

  • Azadirachta indica
  • Ocimum sanctum
  • Antioxidants
  • Arsenic
  • Toxicity
  • Oxidative stress