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Ecotoxicology. 2013 May;22(4):656-70. doi: 10.1007/s10646-013-1058-9. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Salicylic acid alleviates aluminum toxicity in rice seedlings better than magnesium and calcium by reducing aluminum uptake, suppressing oxidative damage and increasing antioxidative defense.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, 221005, India.


Aluminum toxicity is a major constraint to crop production in acid soils. The present study was undertaken to examine the comparative ameliorating effects of salicylic acid, Ca and Mg on Al toxicity in rice (Oryza sativa L.) seedlings grown in hydroponics. Al treatment (0.5 mM AlCl3) caused decrease in plant vigour, loss of root plasma membrane integrity, increased contents of O 2 (∙-) , H2O2, lipid peroxidation, protein carbonyls and decline in the level of protein thiol. Al treatment caused significant changes in activity of antioxidative enzymes in rice seedlings. Exogenously added salicylic acid (60 μM), Ca (1 mM) and Mg (0.25 mM) significantly alleviated Al toxicity effects in the seedlings marked by restoration of growth, suppression of Al uptake, restoration of root plasma membrane integrity and decline in O 2 (∙-) , H2O2, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl contents. Salicylic acid, Ca and Mg suppressed Al-induced increase in SOD, GPX and APX activities while it elevated Al-induced decline in CAT activity. By histochemical staining of O 2 (∙-) using NBT and H2O2 using DAB, it was further confirmed that added salicylic acid, Ca or Mg decreased Al-induced accumulation of O 2 (∙-) and H2O2 in the leaf tissues. Results indicate that exogenously added salicylic acid, Ca or Mg alleviates Al toxicity in rice seedlings by suppressing Al uptake, restoring root membrane integrity, reducing ROS level and ROS induced oxidative damage and regulating the level of antioxidative enzyme activities. Further salicylic appears to be superior to Mg and Ca in alleviating Al toxicity effects in rice plants.

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