Melatonin Helps Grape Plants Stay Green and Resist Salt Stress

Jenn Hoskins
25th April, 2024

Melatonin Helps Grape Plants Stay Green and Resist Salt Stress

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Shanxi, melatonin helps grape seedlings resist soil salinity and alkalinity
  • Melatonin preserves chlorophyll, maintaining photosynthesis under stress
  • It boosts antioxidants in plants, protecting against stress-induced damage
Salinity and alkalinity in soil present a formidable challenge for agriculture, leading to significant reductions in plant growth and crop yields. Addressing this issue, researchers at Shanxi Agricultural University have explored the potential of melatonin (MT), a compound known to regulate various plant processes, to enhance the resilience of table grape seedlings to these harsh conditions[1]. The study investigated how external application of melatonin could influence the morphological and physiological responses of grape seedlings when faced with saline and alkaline stress. Salinity and alkalinity can cause visible damage to plants, such as leaf yellowing and wilting, as well as a drop in chlorophyll content, which is crucial for photosynthesis. The research found that when melatonin was applied to the grape seedlings, there was a noticeable reduction in the degradation of chlorophyll. This suggests that melatonin helps preserve the plant's ability to perform photosynthesis even under stress. Moreover, the study showed that melatonin treatment led to an increase in the accumulation of soluble sugars and proline content in the plants. Soluble sugars provide energy and act as osmoprotectants, substances that help cells maintain their volume under stress. Proline, an amino acid, serves a similar protective role, stabilizing proteins and cell membranes. Perhaps most significantly, the application of melatonin boosted the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the grape seedlings. These enzymes, which include superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase, play a critical role in neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that can accumulate under stress conditions, leading to oxidative damage. By enhancing the plant's own antioxidant defenses, melatonin helps to mitigate the potentially damaging effects of ROS. These findings from Shanxi Agricultural University align with and expand upon previous research that has highlighted the beneficial role of melatonin in plant stress tolerance. For instance, earlier studies have demonstrated that melatonin can enhance the stress resistance of Leymus chinensis, a grass species, by regulating antioxidant systems and promoting the growth of symbiotic fungi[2]. Similarly, melatonin has been shown to improve the salt tolerance of cotton seedlings by bolstering their antioxidant enzyme activities and adjusting hormone levels[3]. Other research has focused on different plant growth regulators, like strigolactone, which was found to help apple seedlings cope with saline-alkaline stress by maintaining ion balance, enhancing antioxidant enzyme activities, and regulating gene expression[4]. This suggests that various plant growth regulators, including melatonin, may work through similar pathways to confer stress resistance. The study on grape seedlings not only confirms the role of melatonin as an effective agent against environmental stress but also suggests practical applications for agriculture in saline and alkaline regions. By improving plant resilience to such conditions, melatonin treatment could be a valuable strategy in sustaining and increasing crop production where these stresses are prevalent. Overall, the research adds to the growing body of evidence that melatonin is a versatile molecule with significant potential in agriculture. Its ability to enhance plant tolerance to abiotic stresses like salinity and alkalinity could be a key tool for farmers facing the challenges of a changing environment and the need for sustainable crop management practices.

AgricultureBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Exogenous melatonin delays leaves senescence and enhances saline and alkaline stress tolerance in grape seedlings.

Published 31st December, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Interactive effects of exogenous melatonin and Rhizophagus intraradices on saline-alkaline stress tolerance in Leymus chinensis.

3) Effects of Exogenous Melatonin on Root Physiology, Transcriptome and Metabolome of Cotton Seedlings under Salt Stress.

4) Strigolactone alleviates the salinity-alkalinity stress of Malus hupehensis seedlings.

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