Drought and salinity stress alters ROS accumulation, water retention, and osmolyte content in sorghum plants
Ndimba, Bongani Kaiser
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biotic stresses such as drought and salinity are major environmental factors that influence crop productivity worldwide. These adverse conditions induce osmotic stresses in plant cells by decreasing water availability, thus leading to loss of cell turgor and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are detrimental to plant growth and development. To survive such harsh environmental conditions, plants must initiate intracel- lular and physiological signaling networks to rapidly respond and efficiently neutralize these stresses. Inefficient scavenging of ROS would lead to increased levels of cell death, thus inhibiting plant growth and reducing crop productivity. This study investigates the effect of drought and salinity stress on plant growth, water retention, oxidative damage, chlorophyll content, and proline accumulation in sorghum plants. Plant growth, biomass, and leaf chlorophyll were significantly reduced whereas the total proline content was enhanced in response to stress conditions. The significant increase in hydrogen peroxide content as a consequence of stress conditions resulted in augmented levels of lipid peroxidation, which was manifested as extensive cell death and biomass reduction.