Reactive Oxygen Species Production and Detoxification During Leaf Senescence

  • Alice Trivellini
  • Giacomo Cocetta
  • Alessandra Francini
  • Antonio FerranteEmail author


The natural leaf senescence is the last stage of leaf development and is a highly genetically regulated process. Induced leaf senescence, instead, usually occurs in detached leaves or in plants placed in dark conditions under postharvest storage. In both cases, an oxidative burst is a typical feature of this phenomenon and includes a significant increment in reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical, and singlet oxygen. Thus, ROS play a key role in leaf senescence process. Under normal (i.e., non-stressed) conditions, the levels of ROS are controlled and balanced by the antioxidant systems present in leaves. The leaf cells act in the defense response against the accumulation of ROS by enhancing the activity of some key enzymes such as catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). In addition, the ascorbate–glutathione cycle, also known as Asada–Halliwell cycle, is the most important enzymatic antioxidant system acting in the leaf cells during senescence. The leaves are considered the main target of ROS production, and in particular, the photosynthetic apparatus and the related molecules act to support the light perception and photosynthesis activity (chlorophylls and carotenoids).


Ascorbate Ethylene Fruit Oxidative stress Postharvest Vegetables 



Singlet oxygen


Aldehyde oxygenase


Abscisic acid


1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase


IAA oxidase


Ascorbate peroxidase




Affecting autophagy






Dehydroascorbate reductase


Glutathione reductase




Reduced glutathione


Oxidized form of glutathione


Hydrogen peroxide


Indole acetic acid


Jasmonic acid


Monodehydroascorbate reductase


Methyl jasmonate


Naphthalene oxygenase


9-cis-Epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase




Superoxide anion


Hydroxyl radical


Pheophorbide a oxygenase


Reactive oxygen species


Salicylic acid


Senescence-associated genes


Senescence-associated receptor-like kinase


Superoxide dismutase


Tryptophan synthase


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Trivellini
    • 1
  • Giacomo Cocetta
    • 2
  • Alessandra Francini
    • 1
  • Antonio Ferrante
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Life SciencesScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Department Agricultural and Environmental Science – Production, Landscape, AgroenergyUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

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