Response of Dendrobium officinale Kimura et Migo, a Prized Medicinal Plant, to Continuous UV-B Irradiation at Different C/N Ratios

  • Dandan Cui
  • Yuncai Mo
  • Lingjie ZengEmail author
  • Kai Feng
  • Xiaoyun Feng
  • Jialing Huang
  • Mengling He
  • Xiaoyuan Zhang
  • Xifeng Teng


The response of Dendrobium officinale Kimura et Migo (D. officinale) to continuous UV-B irradiation at different carbon to nitrogen ratios (C/N ratios) was investigated. Seedlings grown for 60 days were incubated under aseptic conditions with UV-B irradiation (15.6 µW cm−2) at different C/N ratios: control group (CK; C/N 30 without UV-B), UV-B + CK (C/N 30 with UV-B irradiation, similarly hereafter), UV-B + C/N 120, UV-B + C/N 60, UV-B + C/N 15, UV-B + C/N 10, UV-B + C/N 7.5. Growth parameters (the defoliation rate and the sprout number), photosynthetic pigments (carotenoids, chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b), total polysaccharides, total alkaloids, and activities of antioxidant enzymes were determined following 4, 8, 12, and 16 days of continuous UV-B exposure. Results indicated that UV-B irradiation increased the defoliation rate and the content of carotenoids, total polysaccharides and total alkaloids, as well as the activities of antioxidant enzymes. Conversely, UV-B irradiation reduced the sprout number and chlorophyll content in D. officinale. Compared with UV-B + CK, lower C/N ratio treatments (UV-B + C/N 15, UV-B + C/N 10 and UV-B + C/N 7.5) enhanced the defoliation rate and sprout number, but decreased antioxidant enzyme activities and total polysaccharide content during the whole period, and reduced total alkaloid content after 4 days of UV-B exposure. Following initial UV-B irradiation, lower C/N ratios increased the contents of carotenoid and chlorophyll b, while after 8 days, a reversal in carotenoid content was observed, and after 12 days, a reversal in chlorophyll b content was observed. Optimizing the C/N ratio (C/N 60) resulted in lower defoliation rate, higher photosynthetic pigments and total polysaccharides, and increased activities of antioxidant enzymes, whereas no significant change in sprout number and total alkaloid content was recorded under long-term UV-B irradiation. Furthermore, the UV-B + C/N 120 treatment negatively affected D. officinale in terms of an increased defoliation rate and reduced sprout number, photosynthetic pigments, and total alkaloids. Therefore, results suggested that an appropriate C/N ratio (C/N 60) could ameliorate the adverse effects of continuous UV-B irradiation on D. officinale.


Dendrobium officinale Kimura et Migo UV-B irradiation C/N ratio Photosynthetic pigments Antioxidant enzymes Main active compounds 



This work was supported by Guangdong Science and Technology Department, China (Nos. 2016B01012014 & 2014A020221098).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Agrawal S, Rathore D (2007) Changes in oxidative stress defense system in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and mung bean (Vigna radiata L.) cultivars grown with and without mineral nutrients and irradiated by supplemental ultraviolet-B. Environ Exp Bot 59:21–33. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alonso R, Berli FJ, Bottini R, Piccoli P (2015) Acclimation mechanisms elicited by sprayed abscisic acid, solar UV-B and water deficit in leaf tissues of field-grown grapevines. Plant Physiol Biochem PPB 91:56–60. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Araujo M, Santos C, Costa M, Moutinho-Pereira J, Correia C, Dias MC (2016) Plasticity of young Moringa oleifera L. plants to face water deficit and UVB radiation challenges. J Photochem Photobiol, B 162:278–285. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baroniya SS, Kataria S, Pandey GP, Guruprasad KN (2013) Intraspecific variations in antioxidant defense responses and sensitivity of soybean varieties to ambient UV radiation. Acta Physiol Plant 35:1521–1530. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beyer WF, Fridovich I (1987) Assaying for superoxide dismutase activity: some large consequences of minor changes in conditions. Anal Biochem 161:559–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Braunwald T, Schwemmlein L, Graeff-Honninger S, French WT, Hernandez R, Holmes WE, Claupein W (2013) Effect of different C/N ratios on carotenoid and lipid production by Rhodotorula glutinis. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97:6581–6588. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chance B, Maehly A (1955) Assay of catalases and peroxidases. Methods Enzymol 2:764–775. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Committee CP (2015) Chinese pharmacopoeia. China Medical Science Press, Beijing, pp 282–283Google Scholar
  9. Cong W, Li X (2018) The importance of short-term ultraviolet-B radiation in biomass and photosynthetic productivity of Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms. J Plant Growth Regul 37:896–910. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dai J, Ma H, Fan J, Li Y, Wang J, Ni H (2011) Crude polysaccharide from an anti-UVB cell clone of Bupleurum scorzonerifolium protect HaCaT cells against UVB-induced oxidative stress. Cytotechnology 63:599–607. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dehariya P, Kataria S, Pandey GP, Guruprasad KN (2011) Assessment of impact of solar UV components on growth and antioxidant enzyme activity in cotton plant. Physiol Mol Biol Plants 17:223–229. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fu G, Shen Z-X (2017) Effects of enhanced UV-B radiation on plant physiology and growth on the Tibetan Plateau: a meta-analysis. Acta Physiol Plant. Google Scholar
  13. Gonzalez JA, Rosa M, Parrado MF, Hilal M, Prado FE (2009) Morphological and physiological responses of two varieties of a highland species (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) growing under near-ambient and strongly reduced solar UV-B in a lowland location. J Photochem Photobiol, B 96:144–151. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grandahl K, Eriksen P, Ibler KS, Bonde JP, Mortensen OS (2018) Measurements of solar ultraviolet radiation exposure at work and at leisure in Danish workers. Photochem Photobiol 94:807–814. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Interdonato R, Rosa M, Nieva CB, González JA, Hilal M, Prado FE (2011) Effects of low UV-B doses on the accumulation of UV-B absorbing compounds and total phenolics and carbohydrate metabolism in the peel of harvested lemons. Environ Exp Bot 70:204–211. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kumari R, Agrawal SB (2010) Supplemental UV-B induced changes in leaf morphology, physiology and secondary metabolites of an Indian aromatic plant Cymbopogon citratus (D.C.) Staph under natural field conditions. Int J Environ Stud 67:655–675. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kumari R, Prasad MNV (2013) Medicinal plant active compounds produced by UV-B exposure. Sustainable agriculture reviews, vol 12. Springer, Netherlands, pp 225–254. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kumari R, Singh S, Agrawal S (2009) Effects of supplemental ultraviolet-B radiation on growth and physiology of Acorus calamus L. (sweet flag). Acta Biol Crac Ser Bot 51:19–27Google Scholar
  19. Li X, Zhang L, Li Y, Ma L, Bu N, Ma C (2011) Changes in photosynthesis, antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxidation in soybean seedlings exposed to UV-B radiation and/or Cd. Plant Soil 352:377–387. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lin Y, Li J, Li B, He T, Chun Z (2010) Effects of light quality on growth and development of protocorm-like bodies of Dendrobium officinale in vitro. Plant Cell, Tissue Organ Cult (PCTOC) 105:329–335. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lu L, Wang J, Yang G, Zhu B, Pan K (2016) Heterotrophic growth and nutrient productivities of Tetraselmis chuii using glucose as a under different C/N ratios. J Appl Phycol 29:15–21. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ma CH, Chu JZ, Shi XF, Liu CQ, Yao XQ (2016) Effects of enhanced UV-B radiation on the nutritional and active ingredient contents during the floral development of medicinal Chrysanthemum. J Photochem Photobiol, B 158:228–234. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Manaf HH, Rabie KAE, Abd El-Aal MS (2016) Impact of UV-B radiation on some biochemical changes and growth parameters in Echinacea purpurea callus and suspension culture. Ann Agric Sci 61:207–216. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martz F, Turunen M, Julkunen-Tiitto R, Suokanerva H, Sutinen M-L (2010) Different response of two reindeer forage plants to enhanced UV-B radiation: modification of the phenolic composition. Polar Biol 34:411–420. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Matsuura HN, de Costa F, Yendo ACA, Fett-Neto AG (2013) Photoelicitation of bioactive secondary metabolites by ultraviolet radiation: mechanisms, strategies, and applications. Biotechnology for medicinal plants. Springer, Berlin, pp 171–190. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mazza CA, Gimenez PI, Kantolic AG, Ballare CL (2013) Beneficial effects of solar UV-B radiation on soybean yield mediated by reduced insect herbivory under field conditions. Physiol Plant 147:307–315. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ng TB, Liu J, Wong JH, Ye X, Wing Sze SC, Tong Y, Zhang KY (2012) Review of research on Dendrobium, a prized folk medicine. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 93:1795–1803. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Paranhos JT, Fragoso V, da Silveira VC, Henriques AT, Fett-Neto AG (2009) Organ-specific and environmental control of accumulation of psychollatine, a major indole alkaloid glucoside from Psychotria umbellata. Biochem Syst Ecol 37:707–715. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pi Y, Jiang K, Hou R, Gong Y, Lin J, Sun X, Tang K (2010) Examination of camptothecin and 10-hydroxycamptothecin in Camptotheca acuminata plant and cell culture, and the affected yields under several cell culture treatments. Biocell 34:139–143Google Scholar
  30. Pompelli MF, Martins SC, Antunes WC, Chaves AR, DaMatta FM (2010) Photosynthesis and photoprotection in coffee leaves is affected by nitrogen and light availabilities in winter conditions. J Plant Physiol 167:1052–1060. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ranjbarfordoei A, Samson R, Van Damme P (2011) Photosynthesis performance in sweet almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill) D. Webb] exposed to supplemental UV-B radiation. Photosynthetica 49:107–111. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schmidt ÉC, Maraschin M, Bouzon ZL (2010) Effects of UVB radiation on the carragenophyte Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales): changes in ultrastructure, growth, and photosynthetic pigments. Hydrobiologia 649:171–182. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Singh M, Singh S, Agrawal SB (2011a) Intraspecific responses of six cultivars of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to supplemental ultraviolet-B radiation under field conditions. Acta Physiol Plant 34:65–74. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Singh S, Kumari R, Agrawal M, Agrawal SB (2011b) Growth, yield and tuber quality of Solanum tuberosum L. under supplemental ultraviolet-B radiation at different NPK levels. Plant biol 13:508–516. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Singh S, Agrawal M, Agrawal SB (2013) Differential sensitivity of spinach and amaranthus to enhanced UV-B at varying soil nutrient levels: association with gas exchange, UV-B-absorbing compounds and membrane damage. Photosynth Res 115:123–138. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sun M et al (2010) Change of secondary metabolites in leaves of Ginkgo biloba L. in response to UV-B induction. Innov Food Sci Emerg Technol 11:672–676. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Takshak S, Agrawal SB (2014) Effect of ultraviolet-B radiation on biomass production, lipid peroxidation, reactive oxygen species, and antioxidants in Withania somnifera. Biol Plant 58:328–334. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang Y, Yu G, Li K, Wu M, Ma J, Xu J, Chen G (2015) Responses of photosynthetic properties and antioxidant enzymes in high-yield rice flag leaves to supplemental UV-B radiation during senescence stage. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 22:4695–4705. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wellburn A, Lichtenthaler H (1984) Formulae and program to determine total carotenoids and chlorophylls a and b of leaf extracts in different solvents. Advances in photosynthesis research. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 9–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wong WC, Wu JY, Benzie IF (2011) Photoprotective potential of Cordyceps polysaccharides against ultraviolet B radiation-induced DNA damage to human skin cells. Br J Dermatol 164:980–986. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xu C, Natarajan S, Sullivan JH (2008) Impact of solar ultraviolet-B radiation on the antioxidant defense system in soybean lines differing in flavonoid contents. Environ Exp Bot 63:39–48. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Xu J, Han Q-B, Li S-L, Chen X-J, Wang X-N, Zhao Z-Z, Chen H-B (2013) Chemistry, bioactivity and quality control of Dendrobium, a commonly used tonic herb in traditional Chinese medicine. Phytochem Rev 12:341–367. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Xu Z, Wu H, Zhan D, Sun F, Sun J, Wang G (2014) Combined effects of light intensity and NH4+ -enrichment on growth, pigmentation, and photosynthetic performance of Ulva prolifera (Chlorophyta). Chin J Oceanol Limnol 32:1016–1023. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yang J, Zhang H-F, Cao X-Y, Yang X-H, Wang F-Z, Guo Q, Sun C-Q (2017) Enzymatic water extraction of polysaccharides from Epimedium brevicornu and their antioxidant activity and protective effect against DNA damage. J Food Biochem 41:e12298. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yannarelli GG, Gallego SM, Tomaro ML (2006) Effect of UV-B radiation on the activity and isoforms of enzymes with peroxidase activity in sunflower cotyledons. Environ Exp Bot 56:174–181. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zaid A, Mohammad F (2018) Methyl jasmonate and nitrogen interact to alleviate cadmium stress in Mentha arvensis by regulating physio-biochemical damages and ROS detoxification. J Plant Growth Regul. Google Scholar
  47. Zhang WJ, Bjorn LO (2009) The effect of ultraviolet radiation on the accumulation of medicinal compounds in plants. Fitoterapia 80:207–218. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zheng Y, Jiang W, Silva EN, Mao L, Hannaway DB, Lu H (2012a) Optimization of shade condition and harvest time for Dendrobium candidum plants based on leaf gas exchange, alkaloids and polysaccharides contents. Plant Omics 5:253–260Google Scholar
  49. Zheng YP, Jiang W, Liao FL (2012b) Optimization of light quality for production of alkaloid and polysaccharide in Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl. J Med Plants Res 6:560–565. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zu YG, Pang HH, Yu JH, Li DW, Wei XX, Gao YX, Tong L (2010) Responses in the morphology, physiology and biochemistry of Taxus chinensis var. mairei grown under supplementary UV-B radiation. J Photochem Photobiol, B 98:152–158. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chinese MedicineGuangdong Pharmaceutical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Production & Development of Cantonese Medicinal MaterialsGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Shaoguan Institute of High-Tech Industry, South China University of TechnologyShaoguanChina

Personalised recommendations