Exogenous Proline Effects on Photosynthetic Performance and Antioxidant Defense System of Young Olive Tree

Ben Ahmed C., Ben Rouina B., Sensoy S., Boukhriss M., Ben Abdullah F.

JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD CHEMISTRY, vol.58, no.7, pp.4216-4222, 2010 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1021/jf9041479
  • Page Numbers: pp.4216-4222


The ability of exogenous compatible solutes, such as proline, to counteract salt inhibitory effects in olive plants (Olea europaea L. cv. Chemlali) was investigated. Two-year-old olive trees were subjected to different saline water irrigation levels supplied or not with exogenous proline. Leaf water relations (relative water content, water potential), photosynthetic activity, and leaf chlorophyll content decreased under either saline water level. The proline supplement mitigated the reduction of growth and photosynthetic activity under salt stress, and the mitigating effect of proline was different among treatments. The increment rate of leaf relative water content (RWC) in the presence of 25 and 50 mM proline was 4.45 and 6.67%, respectively, in comparison to values recorded in SS1-treated plants (plants irrigated with water containing 100 mM NaCl). In SS2 (200 mM NaCl) plus proline-treated plants, this increase was 1.14 times for 25 mM proline and 1.19 times for 50 mM proline higher than those recorded in severe salt stress treatment (SS2). In response to salt stress, Chemlali olive plants seem to activate a complex antioxidative defense system that was displayed via the increase of activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and the decrease of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) under either salt stress treatment. The exogenous application of proline improved the antioxidative enzyme activities of salt-stressed olive plants. Indeed, in young or old leaf tissues, the highest levels of these antioxidant enzymes activities were recorded in (SS2 + P2)-treated plants (plants irrigated with water containing 200 mM NaCl plus 50 mM proline). In young leaves, this increase was 2.11, 2.96, and 2.76 times, respectively, for SOD, APX, and CAT enzyme activities in comparison to their respective activities in control plants (nonstressed plants irrigated with fresh water). In old leaves, this increase was 2, 2.41, and 2.48 times, respectively, for the various enzymes. If compared to high water salinity-treated plants (SS2), this increase was 1.1, 1.3, and 1.4 times in young leaves, respectively, for SOD, APX, and CAT activities. From these results, the proline supplements seem to improve olive salt tolerance by amelioration of some antioxidative enzyme activities, photosynthetic activity, and, so, plant growth and the preservation of a suitable plant water status under salinity conditions. More to the point, the decrease of soluble sugars contents in proline treated-plants revealed the important osmoprotectant effect played by the added proline in such a way that limited the need of salt-stressed plants for soluble sugars synthesis.