Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculation on the growth, photosynthesis and antioxidant enzymatic activity of Euonymus maackii Rupr. under gradient water deficit levels

PLoS One. 2021 Nov 23;16(11):e0259959. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259959. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

The role of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus (Rhizophagus intraradices) in the amelioration of the water deficit-mediated negative influence on the growth, photosynthesis, and antioxidant system in Euonymus maackii Rupr. was examined. E. maackii seedlings were subjected to 5 water deficit levels, soil water contents of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% field capacity (FC), and 2 inoculation treatments, with and without AM inoculation. The water deficit increasingly limited the seedling height, biomass accumulation in shoots and roots, chlorophyll content, gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters with an increasing water deficit level. In addition, water deficit stimulated the activities of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT), in both shoots and roots, except under 20% FC conditions. E. maackii seedlings under all water deficit conditions formed symbiosis well with AM fungi, which significantly ameliorated the drought-mediated negative effect, especially under 40% and 60% FC conditions. Under 40% to 80% FC conditions, AM formation improved seedling growth and photosynthesis by significantly enhancing the biomass accumulation, chlorophyll content and assimilation. Mycorrhizal seedlings showed better tolerance and less sensitivity to a water deficit, reflected in the lower SOD activities of shoots and roots and CAT activity of shoots under 40% and 60% FC conditions. Downregulation of the antioxidant system in mycorrhizal seedlings suggested better maintenance of redox homeostasis and protection of metabolism, including biomass accumulation and assimilation. All the results advocated the positive role of R. intraradices inoculation in E. maackii against a water deficit, especially under 40% FC, which suggested the distinct AM performance in drought tolerance and the potential role of the combination of E. maackii-AM fungi in ecological restoration in arid regions.

PMID:34813605 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0259959

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