Cold-acclimation is essential for the development of adequate frost-hardiness in cereals and therefore sudden freezes can cause considerable damage to the canopy. However, timely adding of an appropriate signal in the absence of cold acclimation may also harden wheat for the upcoming freeze. The feasibility of the promising signal molecule methylglyoxal was tested here for such applications and the signal mechanism was studied in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. ssp. durum). Spraying with 10 mM methylglyoxal did not decrease the fresh weight and photosynthetic parameters in most wheat varieties at growth temperature (21 °C). Photosynthetic parameters even improved and chlorophyll content increased in some cases. Increased transcript level of glutathione-S-transferases and omega-3 fatty acid desaturases was detected by qPCR 6 h after the last methylglyoxal spray. Aldo-keto reductase and glyoxalase enzyme activities, as well as sorbitol content of wheat plants increased 24 h after the last 10 mM methylglyoxal spray in most of the cultivars. These mechanisms may explain the increased freezing survival of methylglyoxal pretreated wheat plants from less than 10% to over 30%. Our results demonstrate that exogenous methylglyoxal treatment can be safely added to wheat plants as preparatory treatment without detrimental effects but inducing some of the stress-protective mechanisms, which contribute to frost-hardiness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science