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Durum wheat landraces are still cultivated to take advantage of their excellent grain and straw quality, adaptation to abiotic stresses, and extremely wide variety of uses. The safeguarding and rehabilitation of genetic inheritance requires genetic characterization and evaluation. In this study, forty durum wheat landraces originating from Mediterranean countries were evaluated according to agro-morphological and technological properties. We show that the germplasm was highly variable. The mean yellow pigment and protein content was higher in landraces (15.58%; 7.32 ppm) than in the Moroccan cultivars used as controls (14.6%; 5.48 ppm). In addition, principal component analysis identified five groups showing variable agronomic and qualitative characteristics that might be useful in the rational design of breeding programs.

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The biotic and abiotic stresses are the major limiting factors in plant productivity. To overcome these difficulties molecular breeding methods have recently been widely used to improve the stress and disease resistance of grapevine cultivars. Crown gall disease caused by Agrobacterium vitis or Agrobacterium tumefaciens causes serious damage worldwide on grapevine, and there is no efficient method yet that can be routinely used by grape-growers to prevent this disease. Therefore genetic manipulation for crown gall resistance would have a great economic impact. To this end embryogenic culture of Vitis berlandieri × Vitis rupestris cv. Richter 110 was transformed with a virE1 gene construct. Twenty-six plant lines were selected, and their transgenic nature was confirmed by PCR analysis. Seventeen of the 26 lines showed resistance to crown gall disease following inoculation with A. vitis Tm4 strain.

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Alkaline and acidic pH of soil limit crop yield. Products of phenylpropanoid pathway play a key part in plant abiotic stress tolerance. It was aimed to assess efficacy of tyrosinepriming for activation of enzyme involved in phenolic accumulation induction of pH tolerance in maize seedlings. Seeds of two maize cultivars, namely Sadaf (pH tolerant) and S-2002 (pH sensitive), were grown under three pH levels (3, 7 and 11). Eight and twelve days old seedlings were harvested and parted into roots and shoots for the assessment of growth, enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. PAL activity was directly correlated with total soluble phenolics, flavonoids, growth and seedling vigour. Lower accumulation of phenolics and PAL activity in the pH sensitive (S-2002) cultivar indicated greater oxidative damage caused by pH extremes. Priming improved antioxidative potential by enhancing PAL activity and phenolics accumulation and hence increased growth in maize seedlings.

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In the course of the Maize Consortium Project, investigations were made on the defence mechanisms employed by maize against various abiotic stress factors (low temperature, cadmium) and on the effects exerted by two compounds (S-methylmethionine, salicylic acid) capable of improving the stress resistance of plants to certain abiotic stresses. Salicylic acid (SA) was found to inhibit the uptake of cadmium (Cd), but caused damage to the roots, including a reduction in the activity of phytochelatin synthase (PCS), which meant that preliminary treatment with SA aggravated the damaging effect of Cd. It was also proved that as the result of 2-day treatment with Cd, there was a continuous rise in the Cd level in the plants, more Cd being accumulated in young leaves than in older ones. The PCS activity increased greatly after 24 hours, both in the leaves and in the roots, declining again after 2 days. The effect of SA was examined in both the hybrids and their parental lines, and the effect of this compound on the intensity of alternative respiration was also investigated. A comparison of chilling tolerance data and antioxidant enzyme activity indicated that these two parameters were not directly correlated to each other, i.e. antioxidant enzyme activity values could not be used to draw reliable conclusions on the chilling tolerance of maize lines and hybrids. With regard to the interaction between alternative respiration and salicylic acid, it was proved that exogenous hydrogen peroxide caused a similar increase in the ratio of alternative respiration to that observed after salicylic acid treatment. Abbreviations: SA, salicylic acid; Cd, cadmium; PCS, phytochelatin synthase; SMM, S-methylmethionine; PCs, phytochelatins; PAR, photosynthetically active radiation; TTC, triphenyl tetrazolium chloride; KCN, potassium cyanide; PSII, 2nd photochemical system; POD, guaiacol peroxidase; APX, ascorbate peroxidase; GR, glutathione reductase

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Finding and improving wheat cultivars with good adaptability to abiotic stress is an important objective in breeding programmes. An experiment was set up in the climate chamber of the Martonvásár phytotron to test the effect of heat and drought stress on two winter wheat varieties and one variety of durum. Wheat plants exposed to 35°C and drought during grain filling exhibited altered agronomic and grain quality characteristics. Drought was found to have a much greater influence on yield and quality than heat stress. Reductions in the unextractable polymeric protein fraction and the glutenin-to-gliadin ratio indicated poorer grain yield quality as a result of drought, despite higher protein content. Quality deterioration was observed after drought, while heat stress had no noticeable influence on the protein quality of the three wheat genotypes, measured using size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography (SE-HPLC). The durum variety had a better ratio of protein components and a significantly higher Zeleny value when exposed to heat stress, although it had the lowest grain yield and grain/straw ratio.The most significant negative correlation was observed between the Zeleny value and the unextractable polymeric protein (UPP%) fraction after heat treatment and between the relative protein content and the albumin+globulin % (AG%) in the case of drought. These correlations testify that these parameters play an important role in determining the baking quality of wheat flour.

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Papaver somniferum produces secondary metabolites, which have important roles in their self-defence processes, in plant biochemistry and in allelochemistry. We can see that different stress effects change the quantity of alkaloids. The object of the experiments is, in what manner changes the content of alkaloids of poppy in case of irregular stress effects. Papaver somniferum (cv. 'Kék Duna', Budakalász) plants were grown for 2 months from seeds in quartz-sand (in natural light, temperature: 24-28 °C, in Knop's nutritive solution). In this paper we studied the alkaloid of poppy treated with two kind of stress factors: mycotoxin and drought, respectively. Both the quantity and the spectrum of alkaloids were measured after different separation procedures. Thin layer chromatography (TLC and HPTLC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) were applied. Content of the level of formaldehyde (HCHO) also increases in plants with different stress effects. Our presupposition is that the formation of methyl groups of poppy alkaloids takes place through HCHO. It gave us an opportunity to examine changing of formaldehyde (HCHO) level in biotic and abiotic stress situation. Formaldehyde in dimedone adduct form can be detected in injured tissues of Papaver somniferum. As a consequence, the stress effects can be detected in poppy plants by two kinds of method. At first we measured content of alkaloids. Drought stress produced a higher level of the alkaloids, but the mycotoxin stress did not show significant results.

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Effective conservation of (semi-)natural habitats needs knowledge on the naturalness, the actual quality of a habitat or vegetation patch. Nevertheless, there are only a few studies have been published in this topic so far. During the MÉTA project, between 2002–2005, we have surveyed the semi-natural vegetation of Hungary and assessed the naturalness of the predefined 86 habitat types. In this paper we present the country scale analysis on the naturalness of these habitat types. We compared the naturalness of the individual habitat types and also habitat groups, as well as the naturalness of the physical macroregions of Hungary. Euhydrophyte habitats and habitats deserving high abiotic stress are the most natural ones, while secondary shrublands, uncharacteristic forests and grasslands are the less natural. For the forest habitats we compared and discussed the naturalness values given by the MÉTA mappers and the values gained in the TERMERD (assessing forest naturalness in Hungary) project. In case of regions, Kisalföld has the lowest naturalness, and surprisingly the quality of the Alföld and the Középhegység is nearly equal if we consider only the remained vegetation.

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Salt stress is one of the major abiotic stress which severely limits plant growth and reduces crop productivity across the world. In the present study, the effects of exogenous pyridoxal-5-phosphate (vitamin B6, VB6) on seedling growth and development of wheat under salt stress were investigated. The results showed that exogenous application of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (VB6) significantly increased the RWC, biomass, the concentration of photosynthetic pigments, proline, the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD), together with decreasing the content of Malondiadehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in wheat leaves under salt stress. Meanwhile, the transcript level of P5CR, P5CS, SOD, TaSOS1 and TaSOS4 were also up-regulated after treatment with pyridoxal-5-phosphate. VB6 acts as a signal in regulating the activities of plant antioxidant enzymes and SOS pathway to improve resistance to salt stress. The current study results may give an insight into the regulatory roles of VB6 in improving salt stress and VB6 could be an easily and effective method to improve salt-stress tolerance to wheat in the field condition. It is urgency to understand the molecular mechanism of VB6 to enhance the salt tolerance of wheat in the next work.

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Abstract

Ecological communities are shaped by a complex interplay between abiotic forcing, biotic regulation and demographic stochasticity. However, community dynamics modelers tend to focus on abiotic forcing overlooking biotic interactions, due to notorious challenges involved in modeling and quantifying inter-specific interactions, particularly for species-rich systems such as planktonic assemblages. Nevertheless, inclusive models with regard to the full range of plausible drivers are essential to characterizing and predicting community response to environmental changes. Here we develop a Bayesian model for identifying, from in-situ time series, the biotic, abiotic and stochastic factors underlying the dynamics of species-rich communities, focusing on the joint biomass dynamics of biologically meaningful groups. We parameterize a multivariate model of population co-variation with an explicit account for demographic stochasticity, density-dependent feedbacks, pairwise interactions, and abiotic stress mediated by changing environmental conditions and resource availability, and work out explicit formulae for partitioning the temporal variance of each group in its biotic, abiotic and stochastic components. We illustrate the methodology by analyzing the joint biomass dynamics of four major phytoplankton functional types namely, diatoms, dinoflagellates, coccolithophores and phytoflagellates at Station L4 in the Western English Channel using weekly biomass records and coincident measurements of environmental covariates describing water conditions and potentially limiting resources. Abiotic and biotic factors explain comparable amounts of temporal variance in log-biomass growth across functional types. Our results demonstrate that effective modelling of resource limitation and inter-specific interactions is critical for quantifying the relative importance of abiotic and biotic factors.

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In many world regions, osmotic and salt stresses are becoming the primary environmental conditions limiting successful establishment of crops. The old durum wheat landraces may provide a source of genes useful to enhance crop resilience to the abiotic stresses of dryland areas or foreseen as a result of climate change. With this in mind, in order to determine the effects of salt and osmotic stresses on durum wheat germination, an old Sicilian durum wheat landrace “Timilia” and a relatively recent cultivar “Mongibello” were investigated at various iso-osmotic solutions of NaCl and mannitol at osmotic potentials of: 0 – control, –0.125, –0.250, –0.500 and –0.750 MPa.

Under stress conditions, different germination and early growth behavior was observed in the two durum wheat genotypes. Timilia presented almost stable germination even at the highest osmotic stresses (96.7% and 88.3% seed germination at 0 and –0.750 MPa, respectively) showing a higher capacity of seed imbibition than Mongibello. The latter thus showed a higher sensitivity than the old landrace to the studied stresses. The variability ascertained in the response to salinity stress indicate that Timilia could be a source of interesting genes for breeding programs.

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