Role of Compatible Solutes in Enhancing Antioxidative Defense in Plants Exposed to Metal Toxicity

  • Neha Handa
  • Sukhmeen Kaur Kohli
  • Ravdeep Kaur
  • Anket Sharma
  • Vinod Kumar
  • Ashwani Kumar Thukral
  • Saroj Arora
  • Renu Bhardwaj


Heavy metal pollution is one of the most perilous pollutions due to the non-degradable nature of heavy metals leading to hazardous stresses in plants. Heavy metal toxicity releases reactive oxygen species (ROS) ultimately causing oxidative stress. ROS have deleterious effects on cellular membranes, vital biomolecules and biochemical processes. Plants possess several mechanisms to combat oxidative stress and one of the mechanisms is the production of compatible solutes. These compounds are primarily involved in osmoregulation in plants. Compatible solutes are organic compounds with low molecular weights which, even at high concentrations, do not disturb cellular metabolism. However, their role in abiotic stress tolerance as an adaptive measure has gathered much interest. Several sugars (sucrose, fructose, trehalose, etc), amino acids (proline, glycine, alanine etc.) and other nitrogen and sulphur containing compounds have been found to play imperative roles in mitigation of free radicals, membrane protection and enzyme protection, apart from maintaining osmotic balance. The present chapter, therefore, aims to put forth the four major categories of compatible solutes viz. sugars and polyhydroxylated sugar alcohols, amino acids and their derivates, quaternary ammonium compounds and tertiary sulphonium compounds and understand their roles in managing heavy metal stress.


Compatible solutes Osmolytes Heavy metals Oxidative stress Reactive oxygen species 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neha Handa
    • 1
  • Sukhmeen Kaur Kohli
    • 1
  • Ravdeep Kaur
    • 1
  • Anket Sharma
    • 2
  • Vinod Kumar
    • 2
  • Ashwani Kumar Thukral
    • 1
  • Saroj Arora
    • 1
  • Renu Bhardwaj
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botanical and Environmental SciencesGuru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyDAV UniversityJalandharIndia

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