Comparative photochemistry activity and antioxidant responses in male and female Populus cathayana cuttings inoculated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi under salt
We investigated the impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the morphology and physiology of two genders of the typical dioecious plant Populus cathayana under salt stress. We conducted a pot experiment containing seedlings of the two genders that were subjected to salt or non-salt and filled with soil that was either inoculated with Rhizophagus intraradices or not. The results showed that males had higher mycorrhizal dependency than females. Salt stress decreased growth, the relative water content and chlorophyll fluorescence. Meanwhile, salt increased the superoxide radical (O 2 − ), and hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) contents and antioxidant enzyme activities. Mycorrhizal male seedlings performed better than females in shoot morphological growth under both conditions and in chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, O 2 − and H 2 O 2 contents, MDA concentration, proline content and antioxidant enzymes activities under salt stress. In females, under saline conditions, a lower MDA concentration and H 2 O 2 , O 2 − and proline contents were observed in the leaves and roots. In addition, inoculated female plants performed better in chlorophyll fluorescence parameters than non-inoculated plants. AMF inoculation had either slight or no effects on the performance of females. These findings suggested that when subjected to stress and AMF, differences in the genders existed, followed by the alleviation of the damage to P. cathayana by AMF via improving growth and photosynthesis and antioxidant systems under salt stress.
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