J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (6): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00272.x

• Research Articles •    

Effects of Different Levels of Water Stress on Leaf Water Potential, Stomatal Resistance, Protein and Chlorophyll Content and Certain Anti-oxidative Enzymes in Tomato Plants

Hatem Zgallaï, Kathy Steppe and Raoul Lemeur   

Abstract: A greenhouse experiment was performed in order to investigate the effects of different levels of water stress on leaf water potential (Ψw), stomatal resistance (rs), protein content and chlorophyll (Chl) content of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Nikita). Water stress was induced by adding polyethylene glycol (PEG 6 000) to the nutrient solution to reduce the osmotic potential (Ψs). We investigated the behavior of anti-oxidant enzymes, such as catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), during the development of water stress. Moderate and severe water stress (i.e. Ψs= –0.51 and –1.22 MPa, respectively) caused a decrease in Ψw for all treated (water-stressed) plants compared with control plants, with the reduction being more pronounced for severely stressed plants. In addition, rs was significantly affected by the induced water stress and a decrease in leaf soluble proteins and Chl content was observed. Whereas CAT activity remained constant, SOD activity was increased in water-stressed plants compared with unstressed plants. These results indicate the possible role of SOD as an anti-oxidant protector system for plants under water stress conditions. Moreover, it suggests the possibility of using this enzyme as an additional screening criterion for detecting water stress in plants.(Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium)*Author for correspondence: Tel: +32 (0)9 264 6126; Fax: +32 (0)9 224 44 10; E-mail: h.zgalla@caramail.com.(Author for correspondence.Tel: +32 (0)9 264 6126; Fax: +32 (0)9 224 44 10; E-mail: h.zgalla@caramail.com)

Key words: catalase, chlorophyll, drought, Lycopersicon esculentum, oxidative stress, stomatal resistance, superoxide dismutase, water potential

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