How Hydrogen Sulfide Influences Young Tobacco Plant Growth

Jenn Hoskins
5th March, 2024

How Hydrogen Sulfide Influences Young Tobacco Plant Growth

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study from Wuhan Polytechnic University shows H2S boosts tobacco plant growth
  • Treating plants with H2S increased protective enzymes, aiding stress resistance
  • H2S treatment improved plant size and seed germination speed, but not germination rate
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a gas traditionally known for its pungent odor, has emerged as a key player in the intricate web of plant signaling, influencing how they grow, develop, and respond to environmental stressors. Recent research from Wuhan Polytechnic University[1] sheds light on the potential of H2S to enhance the growth and development of tobacco plants, a topic previously shrouded in uncertainty. The study focused on the effects of sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS), a chemical that releases H2S, on tobacco plants. Researchers treated plants and seeds with various concentrations of NaHS and monitored a suite of growth parameters, including germination speed, plant size, and photosynthetic pigment content. They also measured the activity of enzymes that protect against oxidative stress, which can damage cells. The results were promising. Plants pre-soaked or root-irrigated with NaHS showed a notable increase in endogenous H2S production. This uptick was attributed to the induction of genes and the activity of enzymes known as D/L-cysteine desulfhydrases (D/L-CD), which are involved in the synthesis of H2S within the plant[2]. The increase in H2S was accompanied by improved agronomic traits, such as larger plant size and greater pigment content, essential for photosynthesis. Interestingly, while germination speed and seed vigor were enhanced, the overall germination rate remained unchanged. Moreover, the study found that NaHS treatment significantly boosted the activity of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD). These enzymes play a crucial role in neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS), harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that can accumulate under stress conditions[3]. By enhancing these enzymes' activity, NaHS treatment helps maintain ROS homeostasis, protecting the plant cells from oxidative damage. These findings are in line with previous studies that have established H2S as a multifaceted molecule in plant physiology. For instance, H2S has been shown to act as a gasotransmitter, modulating various cellular processes beyond its role in cysteine synthesis[2]. It has also been demonstrated to possess antibacterial properties, as seen in its ability to inhibit the growth and virulence of Ralstonia solanacearum, a pathogen responsible for tobacco bacterial wilt[4]. Furthermore, H2S has been implicated in enhancing thermotolerance in maize seedlings by triggering a signaling pathway that activates ROS-scavenging systems[3], and in promoting seed germination through the stimulation of alternative oxidase (AOX), a component of the plant respiratory chain[5]. The study from Wuhan Polytechnic University not only corroborates these multifunctional aspects of H2S but also expands our understanding by directly linking H2S signaling to improved growth parameters in tobacco plants. The research highlights the potential of H2S as a growth-promoting agent, possibly paving the way for its application in agriculture to improve crop yield and stress resistance. In conclusion, the ability of H2S to stimulate endogenous production and activate antioxidant defenses suggests a beneficial role for this gaseous molecule in plant biology. The study's insights into the positive effects of H2S on tobacco plant growth and development contribute to a growing body of evidence supporting the use of H2S donors in agriculture. As research continues, the role of H2S in plant science is becoming increasingly clear, revealing a molecule that not only protects plants but also promotes their vitality.

BiochemPlant ScienceAgriculture


Main Study

1) Effect of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on the growth and development of tobacco seedlings in absence of stress.

Published 2nd March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Transcriptomic analysis reveals the functions of H2S as a gasotransmitter independently of Cys in Arabidopsis.

3) Key role of reactive oxygen species-scavenging system in nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide crosstalk-evoked thermotolerance in maize seedlings.

4) Effect and mechanism of NaHS on tobacco bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum.

5) Gasotransmitter H2S accelerates seed germination via activating AOX mediated cyanide-resistant respiration pathway.

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