Mitigation of salinity stress by exogenous application of cytokinin in faba bean (Vicia faba L.)
Soil salinity limits agricultural land use and crop productivity, thereby a major threat to global food safety. Plants treated with several phytohormones including cytokinins were recently proved as a powerful tool to enhance plant’s adaptation against various abiotic stresses. The current study was designed to investigate the potential role of 6-benzyladenine (BA) to improve broad bean (Vicia faba L.) salinity tolerance. The salt-stressed broad bean plantlets were classified into two groups, one of which was sprayed with water and another was sprayed with 200 ppm of BA. Foliar applications of BA to salt-exposed plants promoted the growth performance which was evidenced by enhanced root-shoot fresh and dry biomass. Reduced proline was strongly connected to the enhanced soluble proteins and free amino acids contents, protecting plant osmotic potential following BA treatment in salt-stressed broad bean. BA balanced entire mineral homeostasis and improved mineral absorption and translocation from roots to shoots, shoots to seeds and roots to seeds in salt-stressed plants. Excessive salt accumulation increased malondialdehyde level in leaves creating oxidative stress and disrupting cell membrane whereas BA supplementation reduced lipid peroxidation and improved oxidative defence. BA spray to salinity-stressed plants also compensated oxidative damage by boosting antioxidants defence mechanisms, as increased the enzymatic activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase, peroxidase and ascorbate peroxidase. Moreover, clustering heatmap and principal component analysis revealed that mineral imbalances, osmotic impairments and increased oxidative damage were the major contributors to salts toxicity, on the contrary, BA-augmented mineral homeostasis and higher antioxidant capacity were the reliable markers for creating salinity stress tolerance in broad bean. In conclusion, the exogenous application of BA alleviated the antagonistic effect of salinity and possessed broad bean to positively regulate the osmoprotectants, ion homeostasis, antioxidant activity and finally plant growth and yield, perhaps suggesting these easily-accessible and eco-friendly organic compounds could be powerful tools for the management of broad bean growth as well as the development of plant resiliency in saline prone soils.
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