Metabolic changes and activity pattern of antioxidant enzymes induced by salicylic acid treatment in green microalga Dunaliella salina under nitrogen deficiency

  • Marzieh Mirshekari
  • Alireza EinaliEmail author
  • Jafar Valizadeh


The effect of salicylic acid (SA), an endogenous plant growth regulator, on adaptation of the green microalga, Dunaliella salina to N starvation was investigated through the study of enzymatic antioxidant system and biochemical changes. Algal cells in the exponential growth phase were exposed to N deficiency with 100 μM of SA. N starvation significantly decreased cell number, chlorophyll a, and hydrogen peroxide and while highly increased levels of fresh weight, soluble sugars, starch, proteins, free amino acids, and the activity of antioxidant enzymes. N-starved cells treated with SA enhanced cell number and hydrogen peroxide content, but accumulated lower amounts of metabolites and enzymatic activities compared to untreated cultures. However, the levels of fresh weight, chlorophyll, β-carotene, and soluble proteins remained roughly unchanged relative to N starvation alone. Proteolytic activity was well correlated with accumulation of amino acids in control and other treatments. The results suggest that exogenous SA treatment can enhance adaptation to N starvation by establishing the enzymatic balance to adjust levels of metabolites and directing them to the growth processes.


Antioxidant enzymes Dunaliella salina Chlorophyceae N starvation Protease Salicylic acid 



The authors thank the USB Deputy of Research for monetary contributions in the form of grant to M. Mirshekari for M.Sc. research project.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marzieh Mirshekari
    • 1
  • Alireza Einali
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jafar Valizadeh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Sistan and BaluchestanZahedanIran

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