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Antioxidant enzymatic activity and osmotic adjustment as components of the drought tolerance mechanism in Carex duriuscula


Hou, P and Wang, F and Luo, B and Li, A and Wang, C and Shabala, L and Ahmed, HAI and Deng, S and Zhang, H and Song, P and Zhang, Y and Shabala, S and Chen, L, Antioxidant enzymatic activity and osmotic adjustment as components of the drought tolerance mechanism in Carex duriuscula, Plants, 10, (3) pp. 1-20. ISSN 2223-7747 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (https://

DOI: doi:10.3390/plants10030436


Drought stress is a major environmental constraint for plant growth. Climate-change-driven increases in ambient temperatures resulted in reduced or unevenly distributed rainfalls, leading to increased soil drought. Carex duriuscula C. A. Mey is a typical drought-tolerant sedge, but few reports have examined the mechanisms conferring its tolerant traits. In the present study, the drought responses of C. duriuscula were assessed by quantifying activity of antioxidant enzymes in its leaf and root tissues and evaluating the relative contribution of organic and inorganic osmolyte in plant osmotic adjustment, linking it with the patterns of the ion acquisition by roots. Two levels of stress-mild (MD) and severe (SD) drought treatments-were used, followed by re-watering. Drought stress caused reduction in a relative water content and chlorophyll content of leaves; this was accompanied by an increase in the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide (O2-) contents in leaves and roots. Under MD stress, the activities of catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) increased in leaves, whereas, in roots, only CAT and POD activities increased. SD stress led to an increase in the activities of CAT, POD, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and GPX in both tissues. The levels of proline, soluble sugars, and soluble proteins in the leaves also increased. Under both MD and SD stress conditions, C. duriuscula increased K+, Na+, and Cl- uptake by plant roots, which resulted in an increased K+, Na+, and Cl- concentrations in leaves and roots. This reliance on inorganic osmolytes enables a cost-efficient osmotic adjustment in C. duriuscula. Overall, this study revealed that C. duriuscula was able to survive arid environments due to an efficient operation of its ROS-scavenging systems and osmotic adjustment mechanisms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Carex duriuscula; ROS; antioxidant enzyme; drought tolerance; energy cost; ion concentration; osmotic adjustment
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Hou, P (Dr Peichen Hou)
UTAS Author:Shabala, L (Associate Professor Lana Shabala)
UTAS Author:Ahmed, HAI (Dr Hassan Ahmed)
UTAS Author:Shabala, S (Professor Sergey Shabala)
ID Code:151963
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2022-08-09
Last Modified:2022-09-01
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