Drought tolerance in cereals in terms of water retention, photosynthesis and antioxidant enzyme activities

Szilvia Bencze, Zsuzsanna Bamberger, Tibor Janda, Krisztina Balla, Zoltán Bedo, O. Veisz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Experiments were carried out on three bread wheat varieties, one barley and one durum wheat variety grown in pots in the phytotron and subjected to water withdrawal for 7 days during grain-filling. Leaf water loss, net assimilation rate and transpiration showed marked differences, allowing the genotypes to be ranked. Although the most resistant variety had the highest activity for ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST), which did not rise further in response to drought and the most susceptible variety had the lowest values, which increased to the greatest extent under drought, the level of sensitivity could not be predicted for all the genotypes from the enzyme activity values alone. The largest increases were recorded for the APX, CAT and GR activities. In most genotypes the GR activity was correlated with that of GST, CAT and APX. Changes in the enzyme activities were observed after a decline in transpiration and photosynthesis. The range of soil moisture values over which the antioxidant enzyme activity levels remained relatively unchanged was a better indication of tolerance to drought than either basic or stress-induced activity levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-387
Number of pages12
JournalCentral European Journal of Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Antioxidant enzyme system
  • Cereals
  • Drought
  • Photosynthesis
  • Stress tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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