Investigations on the adaptability of maize lines and hybrids to low temperature and cadmium

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In the course of the Maize Consortium Project, investigations were made on the defence mechanisms employed by maize against various abiotic stress factors (low temperature, cadmium) and on the effects exerted by two compounds (S-methylmethionine, salicylic acid) capable of improving the stress resistance of plants to certain abiotic stresses. Salicylic acid (SA) was found to inhibit the uptake of cadmium (Cd), but caused damage to the roots, including a reduction in the activity of phytochelatin synthase (PCS), which meant that preliminary treatment with SA aggravated the damaging effect of Cd. It was also proved that as the result of 2-day treatment with Cd, there was a continuous rise in the Cd level in the plants, more Cd being accumulated in young leaves than in older ones. The PCS activity increased greatly after 24 hours, both in the leaves and in the roots, declining again after 2 days. The effect of SA was examined in both the hybrids and their parental lines, and the effect of this compound on the intensity of alternative respiration was also investigated. A comparison of chilling tolerance data and antioxidant enzyme activity indicated that these two parameters were not directly correlated to each other, i.e. antioxidant enzyme activity values could not be used to draw reliable conclusions on the chilling tolerance of maize lines and hybrids. With regard to the interaction between alternative respiration and salicylic acid, it was proved that exogenous hydrogen peroxide caused a similar increase in the ratio of alternative respiration to that observed after salicylic acid treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-196
Number of pages14
JournalActa Agronomica Hungarica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Alternative respiration
  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Chilling tolerance
  • Chlorophyll-a fluorescence induction
  • Ion leakage
  • Maize
  • Phytochelatin
  • Phytochelatin synthase
  • S-methylmethionine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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