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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2021, Vol. 20 Issue (1): 109-119    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63242-7
Special Issue: 玉米遗传育种合辑Maize Genetics · Breeding · Germplasm Resources
Crop Science Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Metabolic responses to combined water deficit and salt stress in maize primary roots
LI Peng-cheng1, 2*, YANG Xiao-yi1*, WANG Hou-miao1, 2, PAN Ting1, YANG Ji-yuan1, WANG Yun-yun1, XU Yang1, 2, YANG Ze-feng1, 2, 3, XU Chen-wu1, 2, 3 
1 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology/Key Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics, Ministry of Education/Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genomics and Molecular Breeding/Agricultural College, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, P.R.China
2 Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Modern Production Technology of Grain Crops, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, P.R.China
3 Joint International Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Product Safety of Ministry of Education/Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, P.R.China
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Soil water deficit and salt stress are major limiting factors of plant growth and agricultural productivity.  The primary root is the first organ to perceive the stress signals for drought and salt stress.  In this study, maize plant subjected to drought, salt and combined stresses displayed a significantly reduced primary root length relative to the control plants.  GC-MS was used to determine changes in the metabolites of the primary root of maize in response to salt, drought and combined stresses.  A total of 86 metabolites were measured, including 29 amino acids and amines, 21 organic acids, four fatty acids, six phosphoric acids, 10 sugars, 10 polyols, and six others.  Among these, 53 metabolites with a significant change under different stresses were identified in the primary root, and the content of most metabolites showed down-accumulation.  A total of four and 18 metabolites showed significant up- and down-accumulation to all three treatments, respectively.  The levels of several compatible solutes, including sugars and polyols, were increased to help maintain the osmotic balance.  The levels of metabolites involved in the TCA cycle, including citric acid, ketoglutaric acid, fumaric acid, and malic acid, were reduced in the primary root.  The contents of metabolites in the shikimate pathway, such as quinic acid and shikimic acid, were significantly decreased.  This study reveals the complex metabolic responses of the primary root to combined drought and salt stresses and extends our understanding of the mechanisms involved in root responses to abiotic tolerance in maize.
Keywords:  maize       primary root        combination stress        drought        high salt stress        metabolomics  
Received: 25 December 2019   Accepted:
Fund: This work was supported by grants from the National Key Technology Research and Development Program of Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2016YFD0100303), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31972487, 31902101 and 31801028), the Key Technology Research and Development Program of Jiangsu, China (BE2018325), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China (BK20180920), and the project funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, China (PAPD).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence YANG Ze-feng, E-mail:; XU Chen-wu, E-mail:   
About author:  * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

LI Peng-cheng, YANG Xiao-yi, WANG Hou-miao, PAN Ting, YANG Ji-yuan, WANG Yun-yun, XU Yang, YANG Ze-feng, XU Chen-wu. 2021. Metabolic responses to combined water deficit and salt stress in maize primary roots. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 20(1): 109-119.

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