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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs


06 April 2018

Physiological and biochemical responses involved in water deficit tolerance of nitrogen-fixing Vicia faba


Climate change is increasingly impacting the water deficit over the world. Because of drought and the high pressure of the rising human population, water is becoming a scarce and expensive commodity, especially in developing countries. The identification of crops presenting a higher acclimation to drought stress is thus an important objective in agriculture. The present investigation aimed to assess the adaptation of three Vicia faba genotypes, Aguadulce (AD), Luz d’Otonio (LO) and Reina Mora (RM) to water deficit. Multiple physiological and biochemical parameters were used to analyse the response of the three genotypes to two soil water contents (80% and 40% of field capacity). A significant lower decrease in shoot, root and nodule dry weight was observed for AD compared to LO and RM. The better growth performance of AD was correlated to higher carbon and nitrogen content than in LO and RM under water deficit. Leaf parameters such as relative water content, mass area, efficiency of photosystem II and chlorophyll and carotenoid content were significantly less affected in AD than in LO and RM. Significantly higher accumulation of proline was correlated to the higher performance of AD compared to LO and RM. Additionally, the better growth of AD genotype was related to an important mobilisation of antioxidant enzyme activities such as ascorbate peroxidase and catalase. Taken together, these results allow us to suggest that AD is a water deficit tolerant genotype compared to LO and RM. Our multiple physiological and biochemical analyses show that nitrogen content, leaf proline accumulation, reduced leaf hydrogen peroxide accumulation and leaf antioxidant enzymatic activities (ascorbate peroxidase, guaiacol peroxidase, catalase and polyphenol oxidase) are potential biological markers useful to screen for water deficit resistant Vicia faba genotypes.


Leaves, Water resources, Proline, Plant physiology, Beans, Flowering plants, Plant resistance to abiotic stress, Antioxidants

Kabbadj, A., Makoudi, B., Mouradi, M., Pauly, N., Frendo, P., and Ghoulam, C. (2017). Physiological and biochemical responses involved in water deficit tolerance of nitrogen-fixing Vicia faba. PLOS ONE 12, e0190284. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190284

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