Exogenous brassinosteroid application delays senescence and promotes hyponasty in Carica papaya L. leaves
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The application of brassinosteroids (BR) is associated with increased tolerance to various stresses such as those induced by pathogens, temperature, salinity and drought. Here, we studied the influence of BRs analogues on the leaf senescence of papaya juvenile plants. The objective was to determine whether BRs affect plant growth and leaf senescence by promoting or inhibiting the degradation of chlorophyll and/or leaf abscission. Two-month-old plants were divided into five treatments: C (control without BR application); BRWC (BR applied in the whole canopy); BRL1 (BR applied in the youngest fully expanded leaf, L1); BRL2 (BR applied in L2 which is the secondly more mature leaf in relation to L1) and BRL3 (BR applied in L3 which is the third more mature leaf in relation to L2). We concluded that BRs do not interfere with the senescence of the youngest leaf (L1) but in older leaves (L3) BRWC maintains the leaves greener and attached to the plant for a longer time when compared to the leaves from the other treatments. BR application in whole-canopy increased the plant height, and it caused a delay in leaf senescence and, consequently, in leaf abscission. In addition, hyponastic leaves developed after BR-application in the whole-canopy. The senescence process and leaf abscission in papaya, stimulated by exogenous BRs, were directly related to leaf age.
KeywordsChlorophylls Leaf abscission Leaf greenness Leaf ontogeny Papaya
BIOBRAS16 was kindly provided by researchers from INCA (Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Agrarias, La Habana, Cuba).
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