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Salicylic Acid Application Mitigates Oxidative Damage and Improves the Growth Performance of Barley under Drought Stress

Shah Mohammad Naimul Islam1, Niloy Paul1, Md. Mezanur Rahman2, Md. Ashraful Haque1, Md. Motiar Rohman3, Mohammad Golam Mostofa4,*

1 Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur, 1706, Bangladesh
2 Institute of Genomics for Crop Abiotic Stress Tolerance, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 79409, USA
3 Plant Breeding Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Gazipur, 1701, Bangladesh
4 Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, 48824, Michigan, USA

* Corresponding Author: Mohammad Golam Mostofa. Email: email

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2023, 92(5), 1513-1537.


Drought is a severe environmental constraint, causing a significant reduction in crop productivity across the world. Salicylic acid (SA) is an important plant growth regulator that helps plants cope with the adverse effects induced by various abiotic stresses. The current study investigated the potential effects of SA on drought tolerance efficacy in two barley (Hordeum vulgare) genotypes, namely BARI barley 5 and BARI barley 7. Ten-day-old barley seedlings were exposed to drought stress by maintaining 7.5% soil moisture content in the absence or presence of 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 mM SA. Drought exposure led to severe damage to both genotypes, as indicated by phenotypic aberrations and reduction of dry biomass. On the other hand, the application of SA to drought-stressed plants protected both barley genotypes from the adverse effects of drought, which was reflected in the improvement of phenotypes and biomass production. SA supplementation improved relative water content and proline levels in drought-stressed barley genotypes, indicating the osmotic adjustment functions of SA under water-deficit conditions. Drought stress induced the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide (O2 •− ), and the lipid peroxidation product malondialdehyde (MDA) in the leaves of barley plants. Exogenous supply of SA reduced oxidative damage by restricting the accumulation of ROS through the stimulation of the activities of key antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX). Among the three-applied concentrations of SA, 0.5 mM SA exhibited better mitigating effects against drought stress considering the phenotypic performance and biochemical data. Furthermore, BARI barley 5 showed better performance under drought stress than BARI barley 7 in the presence of SA application. Collectively, our results suggest that SA played a crucial role in improving water status and antioxidant defense strategy to protect barley plants from the deleterious effects of water deficiency.


Cite This Article

Mohammad, S., Paul, N., Rahman, M. M., Haque, M. A., Rohman, M. M. et al. (2023). Salicylic Acid Application Mitigates Oxidative Damage and Improves the Growth Performance of Barley under Drought Stress. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 92(5), 1513–1537.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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