Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 377–385 | Cite as

Sodium benzoate inhibits germination, establishment and development of rice plants

  • Fernanda Augusto Moschetto
  • Marina Fagundes Lopes
  • Bruno Pereira Silva
  • Milton Costa Lima NetoEmail author


Sodium benzoate (NaB) is widely used as food and drink preservative. However, little is known about the phytotoxic effects of NaB on plants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the phytotoxicity effects of exogenous sodium benzoate on seed germination and seedling establishment of rice plants. Seeds were treated with 0, 5 and 10 mM of NaB in a growth chamber with controlled conditions. NaB decreased the germination rate, plant growth and biomass accumulation. Increasing NaB concentration resulted in disruption of cell membranes, disturbance of the plant water status and degradation of the photosynthetic pigments. In addition, NaB decreased photosynthesis and transpiration rates in rice seedling and triggered non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). The NPQ was able to avoid photoinhibition in rice seedlings exposed to NaB. On the other hand, the harmful effects were related with increases in the production of reactive oxygen species, primarily H2O2. Rice plants exposed to 5 mM NaB triggered antioxidant defenses with increased activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate peroxidases (APX) and catalase (CAT). In contrast, the exposure of 10 mM of NaB decreased the activities of these enzymes. Our data clearly show that NaB triggered phytotoxicity effects in rice seedlings, impairing growth, photosynthesis and development.


Oryza sativa Photosynthesis Phytotoxicity Prooxidant NaB 



We thank EMBRAPA ARROZ e FEIJÃO for the donation of the seeds. We acknowledge the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP #2018/04258-6) and CNPq (#404707/2018-1) for supporting funds.


  1. Beauchamp C, Fridovich I (1971) Superoxide dismutase: improved assays and an assay applicable to acrylamide gels. Anal Biochem 44:276–287. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Beltrano J, Ronco MG, Montaldi ER (1999) Drought stress syndrome in wheat is provoked by ethylene evolution imbalance and reversed by rewatering, aminoethoxyvinylglycine, or sodium benzoate. J Plant Growth Regul 18:59–64. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Boatright J (2004) Understanding in vivo benzenoid metabolism in petunia petal tissue. Plant Physiol 135:1993–2011. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bradford MM (1976) A rapid and sensitive method for the quantification of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Anal Biochem 722:248–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cakmak I, Horst WJ (1991) Effect of aluminium on lipid peroxidation, superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase activities in root tips of soybean (Glycine max). Physiol Plant 83:463–468. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castro JLS, Lima-Melo Y, Carvalho FEL, Feitosa AGS, Lima Neto MC, Caverzan A, Margis-Pinheiro M, Silveira JAG (2018) Ascorbic acid toxicity is related to oxidative stress and enhanced by high light and knockdown of chloroplast ascorbate peroxidases in rice plants. Theor Exp Plant Physiol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crisan M, Grozav M, Kurunczi L, Ilia G, Bertea C (2007) Inhibitory effects of some synthetic monoethanolamine salts of para—substituted benzoic acids and corresponding benzoic acids on cucumber seed germination. J Plant Interact 2:53–61. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crişan M, Grozav M, Bertea C (2009) Arabidopsis thaliana seed germination and early seedling growth are inhibited by monoethanolamine salts of para—halogenated benzoic acids. J Plant Interact 4:271–277. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Flexas J, Ortuño MF, Ribas-Carbo M, Diaz-Espejo A, Flórez-Sarasa ID, Medrano H (2007) Mesophyll conductance to CO2 in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytol 175:501–511. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Foyer C (2002) Regulation of photosynthesis and antioxidant metabolism in maize leaves at optimal and chilling temperatures: review. Plant Physiol Biochem 40:659–668. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Foyer CH, Noctor G (2003) Redox sensing and signalling associated with reactive oxygen in chloroplasts, peroxisomes and mitochondria. Physiol Plant 119:355–364. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Foyer CH, Ruban AV, Nixon PJ (2017a) Photosynthesis solutions to enhance productivity. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 372:3–6. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Foyer CH, Ruban AV, Noctor G (2017b) Viewing oxidative stress through the lens of oxidative signalling rather than damage. Biochem J 474:877–883. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Gardner LK, Lawrence GD (1993) Benzene production from decarboxylation of benzoic acid in the presence of ascorbic acid and a transition-metal catalyst. J Agric Food Chem 41:693–695. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Giannopolotis CN, Ries SK (1977) Superoxide dismutases: occurrence in higher plants. Plant Physiol 59:309–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goh C-H, Ko S-M, Koh S, Kim Y-J, Bae H-J (2011) Photosynthesis and environments: photoinhibition and repair mechanisms in plants. J Plant Biol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Havir EA, McHale NA (1987) Biochemical and developmental characterization of multiple forms of catalase in tobacco leaves. Plant Physiol 84:450–455. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Hiner A, Rodriguez-Lopez JN, Raven EL, Garcia-Canovas F, Acosta M (2000) Kinetic study of the inactivation of ascorbate peroxidase by hydrogen peroxide. Biochem J 348:321–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ibekwe SE, Uwakwe AA, Monanu M (2007) Effect of oral intake of sodium benzoate on some haematological parameters of wistar albino rats. Sci Res Essay 2:006–009Google Scholar
  20. Inderjit DKMM, Dakshini KMM (1995) On laboratory bioassays in allelopathy. Bot Rev 61:28–44. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kehinde OS, Christianah OI, Oyetunji OA (2018) Ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate synergistically aggravates testicular dysfunction in adult Wistar rats. Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol 10:39–46PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Lichtenthaler H, Wellburn A, Lichtentharler HK, Welburn AR (1983) Determination of total carotenoids and chlorophylls a and b of leaf extracts in different solvents. Biochem Soc Trans 11:591–592. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lima Neto MC, Cerqueira JVA, Cunha JR, Ribeiro RV, Silveira JAG (2017) Cyclic electron flow, NPQ and photorespiration are crucial for the establishment of young plants of Ricinus communis and Jatropha curcas exposed to drought. Plant Biol 19:650–659. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Lutts S, Kinet JM, Bouharmont J (1996) NaCl-induced senescence in leaves of rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars differing in salinity resistance. Ann Bot 78:389–398. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maxwell K, Johnson GN (2000) Chlorophyll fluorescence—practical guide. J Exp Bot 51:659–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Medeiros Vinci R, De Meulenaer B, Andjelkovic M, Canfyn M, Van Overmeire I, Van Loco J (2011) Factors influencing benzene formation from the decarboxylation of benzoate in liquid model systems. J Agric Food Chem 59:12975–12981. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Mittler R (2002) Oxidative stress, antioxidants and stress tolerance. Trends Plant Sci 7:405–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Møller IM, Jensen PE, Hansson A (2007) Oxidative modifications to cellular components in plants. Annu Rev Plant Biol 58:459–481. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Nakano Y, Asada K (1981) Hydrogen peroxide is scavenged by ascorbate-specific peroxidase in spinach chloroplasts. Plant Cell Physiol 22:867–880. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Piper JD, Piper PW (2017) Benzoate and sorbate salts: a systematic review of the potential hazards of these invaluable preservatives and the expanding spectrum of clinical uses for sodium benzoate. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf 16:868–880. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pongsavee M (2015) Effect of sodium benzoate preservative on micronucleus induction, chromosome break, and Ala40Thr superoxide dismutase gene mutation in lymphocytes. Biomed Res Int 2015:1–5. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Queval G, Noctor G (2007) A plate reader method for the measurement of NAD, NADP, glutathione, and ascorbate in tissue extracts: application to redox profiling during Arabidopsis rosette development. Anal Biochem 363:58–69. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Shafer SR, Blum U, Horton SJ, Hesterberg DL (1998) Biomass of tomato seedlings exposed to an allelopathic phenolic acid and enriched atmospheric carbon dioxide. Water Air Soil Pollut 106:123–136. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Singh KL, Chaudhuri A, Kar RK (2014) Superoxide and its metabolism during germination and axis growth of Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek seeds. Plant Signal Behav 9:e29278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Singh KL, Chaudhuri A, Kar RK (2015) Role of peroxidase activity and Ca2 + in axis growth during seed germination. Planta 242:997–1007. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Slavich P (1999) Water use of grazed salt bush plantations with saline watertable. Agric Water Manage 39:169–185. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wang X, Sun C, Gao S, Wang L (2001) Validation of germination rate and root elongation as indicator to assess phytoxicity with Cucumis sativus. Chemosphere 44:1711–1721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wildermuth MC (2006) Variations on a theme: synthesis and modification of plant benzoic acids. Curr Opin Plant Biol 9:288–296. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Xing Y, Zhang Q (2010) Genetic and molecular basis of rice yield. Ann Rev Plant Biol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zengin N, Yüzbaşıoğlu D, Ünal F, Yılmaz S, Aksoy H (2011) The evaluation of the genotoxicity of two food preservatives: sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate. Food Chem Toxicol 49:763–769. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhou M, Diwu Z, Panchuk-Voloshina N, Haugland RP (1997) A stable nonfluorescent derivative of resorufin for the fluorometric determination of trace hydrogen peroxide: applications in detecting the activity of phagocyte NADPH oxidase and other oxidases. Anal Biochem 253:162–168. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Brazilian Society of Plant Physiology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Metabolism Lab., Biosciences Institute, Coastal CampusSão Paulo State University (Unesp)São VicenteBrazil

Personalised recommendations