Reducing Chromium Stress in Plants with Trehalose: Boosting Growth and Health

Jenn Hoskins
28th May, 2024

Reducing Chromium Stress in Plants with Trehalose: Boosting Growth and Health

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University found that chromium (Cr) stress significantly reduces plant growth and photosynthesis in Vigna radiata
  • Trehalose application at 1 and 5 mM concentrations alleviated the negative effects of Cr stress, improving growth parameters like shoot height and biomass
  • Trehalose enhanced the plant's antioxidant defense system, increasing the activities of enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), which reduced oxidative damage
Chromium (Cr) contamination in soil is a significant environmental issue that negatively impacts plant growth and productivity. The recent study conducted at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University[1] investigates the role of trehalose, a sugar known for its stress tolerance properties, in mitigating the adverse effects of Cr stress on Vigna radiata (mung bean). This study provides valuable insights into how trehalose can enhance plant resilience under heavy metal stress. Chromium exposure has been shown to severely inhibit various aspects of plant growth and physiology, including a reduction in shoot height, fresh and dry weight, chlorophyll content, photosynthesis, and mineral uptake. Specifically, Cr stress led to a 39.33% decrease in shoot height and a 50.70% reduction in total chlorophylls, among other detrimental effects. These declines are primarily due to the oxidative stress induced by Cr, which results in the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage cellular components. The study found that the exogenous application of trehalose at concentrations of 1 and 5 mM significantly alleviated the negative impacts of Cr stress. Trehalose application improved growth parameters, such as shoot height and biomass, and enhanced photosynthetic efficiency by increasing chlorophyll and carotenoid content. This aligns with earlier findings where kinetin and spermidine were used to counteract cadmium (Cd) stress in Vigna angularis by enhancing photosynthetic parameters and up-regulating antioxidant systems[2]. One of the key mechanisms by which trehalose mitigates Cr-induced damage is through the enhancement of the plant's antioxidant defense system. The study observed significant increases in the activities of ROS-scavenging enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) by 182.03%, catalase (CAT) by 125.40%, ascorbate peroxidase (APX) by 72.86%, and glutathione reductase (GR) by 68.39%. This up-regulation of antioxidant enzymes helps in reducing oxidative damage, as evidenced by decreased hydrogen peroxide accumulation, lipid peroxidation, and electrolyte leakage. Similar antioxidant responses were noted in eggplant under nickel (Ni) stress when treated with nitric oxide (NO), which also enhanced the activities of SOD, CAT, and APX, thereby mitigating oxidative damage[3]. Furthermore, trehalose application improved the content of osmolytes such as proline, glycine betaine, and sugars, which play crucial roles in maintaining cellular osmotic balance and protecting cellular structures under stress conditions. This is consistent with findings from other studies where osmolytes like proline and glycine betaine helped in maintaining relative water content and enhancing stress tolerance[2][3]. The study also highlighted the role of trehalose in improving the uptake of essential mineral nutrients, which are often disrupted by heavy metal stress. Trehalose significantly increased the content of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca) in Vigna radiata under Cr stress. This improvement in nutrient uptake is crucial for maintaining metabolic functions and overall plant health. The positive effects of nutrient uptake enhancement were similarly observed in eggplant under Ni stress when treated with NO, which increased the uptake of N, K, and Ca while reducing Ni accumulation[3]. Additionally, trehalose application enhanced nitrate reductase activity, which is vital for nitrogen assimilation in plants. This enzyme activity was significantly reduced due to Cr stress but was ameliorated by trehalose treatment, thus supporting better nitrogen metabolism and plant growth. In summary, the study from Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University demonstrates that trehalose is effective in mitigating chromium-induced stress in Vigna radiata by enhancing antioxidant defense mechanisms, improving osmolyte accumulation, and increasing nutrient uptake. These findings are supported by prior research on the beneficial roles of kinetin, spermidine, and nitric oxide in alleviating heavy metal stress in plants[2][3]. This research provides a promising approach for improving plant resilience to heavy metal contamination, which is crucial for agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.

EnvironmentBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Alleviating chromium-induced oxidative stress in Vigna radiata through exogenous trehalose application: insights into growth, photosynthetic efficiency, mineral nutrient uptake, and reactive oxygen species scavenging enzyme activity enhancement

Published 27th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Combined Kinetin and Spermidine Treatments Ameliorate Growth and Photosynthetic Inhibition in Vigna angularis by Up-Regulating Antioxidant and Nitrogen Metabolism under Cadmium Stress.

3) Exogenous Nitric Oxide Mitigates Nickel-Induced Oxidative Damage in Eggplant by Upregulating Antioxidants, Osmolyte Metabolism, and Glyoxalase Systems.

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