Physiological Response to Different Irradiation Regimes during Barley Seedlings Growth Followed by Drought Stress under Non-Photoinhibitory Light

  •  Jasenka Antunovic Dunic    
  •  Hrvoje Lepedus    
  •  Domagoj Simic    
  •  Alojzije Lalic    
  •  Selma Mlinaric    
  •  Josip Kovacevic    
  •  Vera Cesar    


Differences in physiological response of barley seedlings cultivated under low (LI, ~65 umol m-2 s-1) and elevated irradiation (EI, ~450 umol m-2 s-1) to upcoming drought were evaluated. After ten days of cultivation, drought stress was induced under LI by withholding water and was defined as: mild stress (MS), severe stress (SS), extreme stress (ES) and control (C, well watered). Decreased relative water content (RWC) in both LI and EI grown plants was associated with increased lipid peroxidation (TBARS) and electrolyte leakage (%EL) as well as with decreased total chlorophylls content at SS and ES. Antioxidative response to drought was, generally, indicated by higher accumulation of free proline, increased activities of catalase (CAT), guaiacol peroxidase (GPOD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Even the majority of estimated physiological and biochemical parameters showed no differences between investigated light regimes before drought stress induction, the LI grown plants responded on drought by adjustment of the photosynthetic apparatus to prevent photoinhibitory oxidative damage. Photosynthesis downregulation in EI grown plants under ES was revealed due to reduced values of maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and performance index (PIABS) showing that acclimatization to EI conditions lowered their tolerance to the following drought stress although it was applied under low irradiation (LI). Therefore, those plants had reduced capability to cope with the challenge of upcoming drought stress showing more pronounced cellular oxidative damage (SS and ES), less efficient and almost dysfunctional photosynthetic apparatus in extreme drought (ES).

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