Physiological and metabolomic responses of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) to alkali stress

Physiologia Plantarum
Tiantian YeZhulong Chan


Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) is a widely used warm-season turfgrass species with superior stress tolerance except for cold. In this study, a comparative analysis of the responses to alkali stress in bermudagrass at the physiological and metabolomic levels were performed. Mild alkali with relatively low pH slightly inhibited growth of bermudagrass as evidenced by lower electrolyte leakage, more rapid growth and higher survival rate when compared to moderate and severe alkali treatments. Moreover, the amount of 37 metabolites including amino acids, organic acids, sugars and sugar alcohols were modulated by the alkali treatments. Among them, 15 metabolites were involved in carbon and amino acid metabolic pathways. Under mild alkali stress, bermudagrass possibly slowed down metabolisms to maintain basic growth. However, moderate and severe alkali-stressed plants accumulated significantly higher amount of carbohydrates which might result in carbon starvation. Taken together, alkali stress had severely inhibitory effect partially due to combined ionic stress and high pH stress. These results suggested that bermudagrass employed different strategies in response to alkali stresses with different pH and ionic values.


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