Antagonistic actions of boron against inhibitory effects of aluminum toxicity on growth, CO2 assimilation, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, and photosynthetic electron transport probed by the JIP-test, of Citrus grandis seedlings

Huan-Xin Jiang, Ning Tang, Jin-Gui Zheng, Li-Song Chen
BMC Plant Biology 2009, 9: 102

BACKGROUND: Little information is available on the amelioration of boron (B) on aluminum (Al)-induced photosynthesis inhibition. Sour pummelo (Citrus grandis) seedlings were irrigated for 18 weeks with nutrient solution containing 4 B levels (2.5, 10, 25 and 50 microM H3BO3) x 2 Al levels (0 and 1.2 mM AlCl3.6H2O). The objectives of this study were to determine how B alleviates Al-induced growth inhibition and to test the hypothesis that Al-induced photosynthesis inhibition can be alleviated by B via preventing Al from getting into shoots.

RESULTS: B had little effect on plant growth, root, stem and leaf Al, leaf chlorophyll (Chl), CO2 assimilation, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), Chl a fluorescence (OJIP) transient and related parameters without Al stress except that root, stem and leaf B increased with increasing B supply and that 50 muM B decreased slightly root dry weight. Al-treated roots, stems and leaves displayed a higher or similar B. B did not affect root Al under Al stress, but decreased stem and leaf Al level. Shoot growth is more sensitive to Al stress than root growth, CO2 assimilation, Chl, Rubisco, OJIP transient and most related parameters. Al-treated leaves showed decreased CO2 assimilation, but increased or similar intercellular CO2 concentration. Both initial and total Rubisco activity in Al-treated leaves decreased to a lesser extent than CO2 assimilation. Al decreased maximum quantum yield of primary photochemistry and total performance index, but increased minimum fluorescence, K-band, relative variable fluorescence at J- and I-steps. B could alleviate Al-induced increase or decrease for all these parameters. Generally speaking, the order of B effectiveness was 25 microM > 10 microM >or= 50 microM (excess B) > 2.5 microM.

CONCLUSION: We propose that Al-induced photosynthesis inhibition was mainly caused by impaired photosynthetic electron transport chain, which may be associated with growth inhibition. B-induced amelioration of root inhibition was probably caused by B-induced changes in Al speciation and/or sub-cellular compartmentation. However, B-induced amelioration of shoot and photosynthesis inhibition and photoinhibitory damage occurring at both donor and acceptor sides of photosystem II could be due to less Al accumulation in shoots.

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