Exogenous low-dose hydrogen peroxide enhances drought tolerance of soybean (Glycine max L.) through inducing antioxidant system

Acta Biol Hung. 2016 Jun;67(2):169-83. doi: 10.1556/018.67.2016.2.5.


Hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) functions as a signal molecule in plants under abiotic and biotic stress. In this study, the role of exogenous H(2)O(2) in improving drought tolerance in two soybean cultivars (Glycine max L. Merrill) differing in their tolerance to drought was evaluated. Plants were grown in plastic pots with normal irrigation in a phytotron. Four weeks after radicle emergence, either 1 mM H(2)O(2) or distilled water was sprayed as foliar onto the leaves of each plant, after drought stress was applied. Leaf samples were harvested on the 4(th) and 7(th) days of the drought. Antioxidant-related enzyme activity, such as the superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), glutathione reductase (GR), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) and malondialdehyde (MDA) content was measured during the drought period. Drought stress decreased leaf water potential, relative water content and photosynthetic pigment content but enhanced lipid peroxidation and endogenous H(2)O(2) concentration. By contrast, exogenous low dose H(2)O(2) improved water status, pigment content and lipid peroxidation under drought stress. Endogenous H(2)O(2) concentration was reduced by exogenous H(2)O(2) as compared to drought treatment alone. H(2)O(2) pre-treatment induced all the antioxidant enzyme activities, to a greater extent than the control leaves, during drought. H(2)O(2) pretreatment further enhanced the activities of antioxidant enzymes in the tolerant cultivar compared to the sensitive cultivar. Results suggested that low dose H(2)O(2) pre-treatment alleviated water loss and H(2)O(2) content and increased drought stress tolerance by inducing the antioxidant system.

Keywords: Gylcine max L.; Hydrogen peroxide; antioxidant enzymes; drought tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / drug effects
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Droughts
  • Glycine max / drug effects
  • Glycine max / enzymology*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Water / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Water
  • Chlorophyll
  • Hydrogen Peroxide