Drought tolerance in citrus rootstocks is associated with better antioxidant defense mechanism

  • Sajjad Hussain
  • Muhammad Fasih Khalid
  • Muhammad Saqib
  • Shakeel Ahmad
  • Waseem Zafar
  • Muhammad Junaid Rao
  • Raphaël Morillon
  • Muhammad Akbar AnjumEmail author
Original Article


Citrus is one of the major fruit crops grown worldwide. Citrus trees are affected by different abiotic stresses including drought which decrease its yield. In this study, six different citrus rootstocks (Volkameriana lemon, Brazilian sour orange, Carrizo citrange, Eureka lemon, Gada dahi, and Rangpur lime) were subjected to drought stress (24 days) and leaf relative water content (LRWC), chlorophyll ‘a’ and ‘b’, antioxidant capacity (AC), total phenolic content, and proline content (PRO) were measured. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), lipid peroxidation (MDA), total soluble proteins (TSP), and enzymatic antioxidant activities, such as superoxidase dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD), were measured in leaves and roots of the rootstocks. Drought-stressed Volkameriana lemon had the minimum LRWC but higher SOD activity in its leaves. Carrizo citrange possessed the minimum amount of Chl ‘a’ and ‘b’ in leaves and exhibited lesser MDA and H2O2 in roots but greater TSP content in leaves and roots. SOD, CAT, POD, PRO, MDA, H2O2, and AC decreased in the leaves of Eureka lemon and Rangpur lime under drought stress. MDA and H2O2 contents were observed higher in leaves of Brazilian sour orange (a drought sensitive rootstock). However, higher SOD activity in roots and higher CAT and POD activities in leaves and roots were recorded in Carrizo citrange (a drought-tolerant rootstock). The results indicated that all the studied rootstocks were different in their defense mechanism. Tolerant rootstocks exhibited less amount of MDA and H2O2 and more antioxidant enzymatic activities (SOD, CAT, and POD) to cope with reactive oxygen species produced during drought stress.


Citrus genotypes Drought stress Enzymatic antioxidant activities Lipid peroxidation Reactive oxygen species (ROS) 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sajjad Hussain
    • 1
  • Muhammad Fasih Khalid
    • 1
  • Muhammad Saqib
    • 1
  • Shakeel Ahmad
    • 2
  • Waseem Zafar
    • 1
  • Muhammad Junaid Rao
    • 1
  • Raphaël Morillon
    • 3
  • Muhammad Akbar Anjum
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and TechnologyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and TechnologyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  3. 3.Equpie “Structure Evolutive des Agrumes, Polyploidie et Amelioration Genetique”SEAPAG-UM AGAP-Department BIOS-CIRADPetit BourgFrance

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