Effect of potassium deficiency on growth, antioxidants, ionome and metabolism in rapeseed under drought stress

  • Bo Zhu
  • Qiwen Xu
  • Yonggang Zou
  • Shumin Ma
  • Xiaoduan Zhang
  • Xiaoyu Xie
  • Longchang WangEmail author
Original paper


Previous studies have reported that potassium plays important roles in rapeseed drought tolerance, however, the interrelationship between potassium and metabolism under drought stress remains unclear. In this study, physiological and metabolic responses were investigated in two cultivars Youyan57 (YY57) and Chuanyou36 (CY36) exposed to 7% PEG6000 simulated drought stress with two potassium levels (0.01 and 1.0 mM K2SO4, referred to LK and NK, respectively). Compared to NK, LK caused a more dramatic reduction in biomass and led to significant lower enzymatic activities of antioxidants under drought stress for both the two cultivars. Moreover, potassium concentration in plant tissues decreased by 29.1% in LK compared to NK averagely and induced metabolic disorder. Totally 51 metabolites changed significantly under LK compared to NK, in which amino acids and amines increased dramatically. Most carbohydrates and carbohydrate conjugates decreased at LK, while organic acids increased, including α-ketoglutaric acid, succinic acid, l-malic acid and oxalacetic acid, which could participate in tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) and synthesis of amino acids. The results suggested that potassium deficiency under drought stress induced the accumulation of amino acids for osmotic adjustment and balance of electric charge, while resistance related biosynthesis of amino acids and enhanced TCA cycle were high demands of carbon skeletons which affected plant growth. Cultivar YY57 kept much higher potassium concentration and antioxidant capacity than CY36 at LK, and showed less disturbance of metabolism, consequently resulting in higher biomass. Therefore, potassium uptake and retention was closely associated with rapeseed drought tolerance.


Brassica napus Drought tolerance Low potassium Amino acid Ion homeostasis 



This work was financially supported by Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (No. 201503127) and the National Science Foundation (No. 31271673).

Supplementary material

10725_2019_545_MOESM1_ESM.tif (4.4 mb)
Supplementary Material 1 Fig. S1 Heatmaps and hierarchical cluster analysis for 132 metabolites in rapeseed leaf at LK and NK under drought stress. Distance measure using euclidean, clustering algorithm using Ward (TIF 4516 kb)
10725_2019_545_MOESM2_ESM.xls (92 kb)
Supplementary Material 2 Table S1 Relative concentration of detected metabolites under LK and NK in leaves of two rapeseed cultivars (XLS 94 kb)


  1. Abdallah M, Dubousset L, Meuriot F, Etienne P, Avice JC, Ourry A (2010) Effect of mineral sulphur availability on nitrogen and sulphur uptake and remobilization during the vegetative growth of Brassica napus L. J Exp Bot 61:2635–2646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abedi T, Pakniyat H (2010) Antioxidant enzyme changes in response to drought stress in ten cultivars of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.). Czech J Genet Plant 46:27–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abid M, Tian Z, Ata-Ul-Karim ST, Cui Y, Liu Y, Zahoor R, Jiang D, Dai T (2016) Nitrogen nutrition improves the potential of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to alleviate the effects of drought stress during vegetative growth periods. Front Plant Sci 7:981CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aebi H (1984) Catalase invitro. Method Enzymol 105:121–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ahmad P, Jaleel CA, Sharma S (2010) Antioxidant defense system, lipid peroxidation, proline-metabolizing enzymes, and biochemical activities in two Morus alba genotypes subjected to NaCl stress. Russ J Plant Physiol 57:509–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Armengaud P, Sulpice R, Miller AJ, Stitt M, Amtmann A, Gibon Y (2009) Multilevel analysis of primary metabolism provides new insights into the role of potassium nutrition for glycolysis and nitrogen assimilation in Arabidopsis roots. Plant Physiol 150:772–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Asif M, Yilmaz O, Ozturk L (2017) Potassium deficiency impedes elevated carbon dioxide-induced biomass enhancement in well watered or drought-stressed bread wheat. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 180:474–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barrs HD, Weatherley PE (1962) A re-examination of relative turgidity technique for estimating water deficits in leaves. Aust J Biol Sci 15:413–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bartels D, Sunkar R (2005) Drought and salt tolerance in plants. Crit Rev Plant Sci 24:23–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bolton MD (2009) Primary metabolism and plant defense-fuel for the fire. Mol Plant Microbe Interact 22:487–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Broadley MR, Bowen HC, Cotterill HL, Hammond JP, Meacham MC, Mead A, White PJ (2004) Phylogenetic variation in the shoot mineral concentration of angiosperms. J Exp Bot 55:321–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cakmak I (2005) The role of potassium in alleviating detrimental effects of abiotic stresses in plants. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 168:521–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dunn WB, Broadhurst D, Begley P, Zelena E, Francis-McIntyre S, Anderson N, Brown M, Knowles JD, Halsall A, Haselden JN, Nicholls AW, Wilson ID, Kell DB, Goodacre R, Human Serum Metabolome HC (2011) Procedures for large-scale metabolic profiling of serum and plasma using gas chromatography and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Nat Protoc 6:1060–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Egilla JN, Davies FT, Drew MC (2001) Effect of potassium on drought resistance of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cv. Leprechaun: Plant growth, leaf macro- and micronutrient content and root longevity. Plant Soil 229:213–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Franks SJ (2011) Plasticity and evolution in drought avoidance and escape in the annual plant Brassica rapa. New Phytol 190:249–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gerardeaux E, Jordan-Meille L, Constantin J, Pellerin S, Dingkuhn M (2010) Changes in plant morphology and dry matter partitioning caused by potassium deficiency in Gossypium hirsutum (L.). Environ Exp Bot 67:451–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ghobadi M, Bakhshandeh M, Fathi G, Gharineh MH (2006) Short and long periods of water stress during different growth stages of canola (Brassica napus L.): effect on yield, yield components, seed oil and protein contents. J Agron 5:336–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Giannopolitis CN, Ries SK (1977) Superoxide dismutases.1. occurrence in higher-plants. Plant Physiol 59:309–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hafsi C, Debez A, Abdelly C (2014) Potassium deficiency in plants: effects and signaling cascades. Acta Physiol Plant 36:1055–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hodges DM, DeLong JM, Forney CF, Prange RK (1999) Improving the thiobarbituric acid-reactive-substances assay for estimating lipid peroxidation in plant tissues containing anthocyanin and other interfering compounds. Planta 207:604–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jin J (2012) Changes in the efficiency of fertiliser use in China. J Sci Food Agric 92:1006–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Karley PJWAJ (2010) Cell biology of metals and nutrients. In: Hell R, Mendel RR, Hell R, Mendel RR (eds) Cell biology of metals and nutrients, vol 17, pp 199–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kind T, Wohlgemuth G, Lee DY, Lu Y, Palazoglu M, Shahbaz S, Fiehn O (2009) FiehnLib: Mass spectral and retention index libraries for metabolomics based on quadrupole and time-of-flight gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Anal Chem 81:10038–10048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li X, Lu J, Wu L, Chen F (2009) The difference of potassium dynamics between yellowish red soil and yellow cinnamon soil under rapeseed (Brassica napus L.)-rice (Oryza sativa L.) rotation. Plant Soil 320:141–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lobell DB, Schlenker W, Costa-Roberts J (2011) Climate trends and global crop production since 1980. Science 333:616–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Michel BE, Kaufmann MR (1973) Osmotic potential of polyethylene-glycol 6000. Plant Physiol 51:914–916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Morgan JM (1992) Osmotic components and properties associated with genotypic differences in osmoregulation in wheat. Aust J Plant Physiol 19:67–76Google Scholar
  28. Orlovius K, Kirgby E (2003) Fertilizing for high yield and quality oilseed rape. IPI Bull 16:125Google Scholar
  29. Pervez H, Ashraf M, Makhdum MI (2004) Influence of potassium nutrition on gas exchange characteristics and water relations in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Photosynthetica 42:251–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rao MV, Paliyath C, Ormrod DP (1996) Ultraviolet-B- and ozone-induced biochemical changes in antioxidant enzymes of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol 110:125–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Raza MAS, Shahid AM, Saleem MF, Khan IH, Ahmad S, Ali M, Iqbal R (2017) Effects and management strategies to mitigate drought stress in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.): a review. Zemdirbyste 104:85–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ren T, Lu J, Li H, Zou J, Xu H, Liu X, Li X (2013) Potassium-fertilizer management in winter oilseed-rape production in China. J Plant Nutr Soil Sc 176:429–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rengel Z, Damon PM (2008) Crops and genotypes differ in efficiency of potassium uptake and use. Physiol Plant 133:624–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Roemheld V, Kirkby EA (2010) Research on potassium in agriculture: needs and prospects. Plant Soil 335:155–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shalata A, Neumann PM (2001) Exogenous ascorbic acid (vitamin C) increases resistance to salt stress and reduces lipid peroxidation. J Exp Bot 52:2207–2211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith AM, Stitt M (2007) Coordination of carbon supply and plant growth. Plant Cell Environ 30:1126–1149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Song T, Xu H, Sun N, Jiang L, Tian P, Yong Y, Yang W, Cai H, Cui G (2017) Metabolomic analysis of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) root-symbiotic rhizobia responses under alkali stress. Front Plant Sci 8:1208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stewart CR, Morris CJ, Thompson JF (1966) Changes in amino acid content of excised leaves during incubation. 2. Role of sugar in accumulation of proline in wilted leaves. Plant Physiol 41:1585–1590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Umezawa T, Fujita M, Fujita Y, Yamaguchi-Shinozaki K, Shinozaki K (2006) Engineering drought tolerance in plants: discovering and tailoring genes to unlock the future. Curr Opin Biotechnol 17:113–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wang M, Zheng Q, Shen Q, Guo S (2013) The critical role of potassium in plant stress response. Int J Mol Sci 14:7370–7390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wang X, Mohamed I, Ali M, Abbas MHH, Shah GM, Chen F (2019) Potassium distribution in root and non-root zones of two cotton genotypes and its accumulation in their organs as affected by drought and potassium stress conditions. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 182:72–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Waraich EA, Ahmad R, Ashraf MY, Ahmad M (2011) Improving agricultural water use efficiency by nutrient management in crop plants. Acta Agric Scand B-S P 61:291–304Google Scholar
  43. Warth B, Parich A, Bueschl C, Schoefbeck D, Neumann NKN, Kluger B, Schuster K, Krska R, Adam G, Lemmens M, Schuhmacher R (2015) GC-MS based targeted metabolic profiling identifies changes in the wheat metabolome following deoxynivalenol treatment. Metabolomics 11:722–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wu XJ, Cai KF, Zhang GP, Zeng FR (2017) Metabolite profiling of barley grains subjected to water stress: to explain the genotypic difference in drought-induced impacts on malting quality. Front Plant Sci 8:1547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Xu H, Lu J, Li X, Wang Y, Su W (2010) Investigation of present fertilization on rapeseed in Hubei province. Oil Crop Sci 32:418–423 (in Chinise)Google Scholar
  46. Zeng J, He X, Quan X, Cai S, Han Y, Nadira UA, Zhang G (2015) Identification of the proteins associated with low potassium tolerance in cultivated and Tibetan wild barley. J Proteom 126:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zeng J, Quan X, He X, Cai S, Ye Z, Chen G, Zhang G (2018) Root and leaf metabolite profiles analysis reveals the adaptive strategies to low potassium stress in barley. BMC Plant Biol 18:187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhang X, Wu H, Chen L, Wang N, Wei C, Wan X (2019) Mesophyll cells' ability to maintain potassium is correlated with drought tolerance in tea (Camellia sinensis). Plant Physiol Biochem 136:196–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Agronomy and BiotechnologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

Personalised recommendations