, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 1681–1694 | Cite as

Brassinosteroids mitigate iron deficiency improving nutritional status and photochemical efficiency in Eucalyptus urophylla plants

  • Michael Douglas Roque Lima
  • Udson de Oliveira Barros Junior
  • Bruno Lemos Batista
  • Allan Klynger da Silva LobatoEmail author
Original Article


Iron (Fe) is essential for the biosynthesis of constitutive proteins of chloroplasts, mitochondria and other organelles, and its deficiency triggers negative effects on photochemical efficiency and electron transport. Brassinosteroids are steroids that play beneficial roles related to chlorophyll fluorescence and plant nutrition. The aims of this research were to answer if epibrassinolide (EBR) can mitigate Fe deficiency in Eucalyptus urophylla plants and to evaluate the repercussions on nutritional status and physiological and biochemical behaviours. The experiment followed a completely randomized factorial design with two Fe conditions (Fe deficiency and control) and three levels of 24-epibrassinolide (0, 50 and 100 nM EBR). EBR application in E. urophylla plants exposed to Fe deficiency increased Fe contents in root, stem and leaf. EBR reduced the negative effects of Fe deficiency on chlorophyll fluorescence and gas exchange parameters. Fe deficiency caused reductions in Chl a, Chl b and total Chl, while plants sprayed with 100 nM EBR showed significant increases in these variables. Our results clearly reveal that EBR attenuated the negative effects caused by Fe deficiency on nutritional status and in the physiological and biochemical behaviours of E. urophylla plants, and these results were connected to increases in the contents of macronutrients and micronutrients, including Fe. EBR also improved the photochemical efficiency of PSII, gas exchange and photosynthetic pigments, inducing minor accumulations of oxidative compounds. Additionally, E. urophylla plants submitted to 100 nM of EBR had better nutritional, biochemical, physiological and morphological results.


24-Epibrassinolide Chloroplast Fe supply Micronutrient Photosystem II 



Effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry





Chl a

Chlorophyll a

Chl b

Chlorophyll b


Intercellular CO2 concentration


Carbon dioxide


Cytochrome b6/f complex


Transpiration rate




Electrolyte leakage


Electron transport rate


Ratio between the apparent electron transport rate and net photosynthetic rate


Relative energy excess at the PSII level






Maximal fluorescence yield of the dark-adapted state


Minimal fluorescence yield of the dark-adapted state


Variable fluorescence


Maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry


Stomatal conductance


Hydrogen peroxide


Leaf dry matter




Nonphotochemical quenching




Net photosynthetic rate


Instantaneous carboxylation efficiency


Photosystem II


Photochemical quenching


Root dry matter


Reactive oxygen species


Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


Stem dry matter


Total dry matter

Total Chl

Total chlorophyll


Water-use efficiency



This research had financial support from Fundação Amazônia de Amparo a Estudos e Pesquisas (FAPESPA/Brazil), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq/Brazil) and Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia (UFRA/Brazil) to AKSL. MDRL and UOBJ were supported by scholarships from Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia (UFRA/Brazil).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Douglas Roque Lima
    • 1
  • Udson de Oliveira Barros Junior
    • 1
  • Bruno Lemos Batista
    • 2
  • Allan Klynger da Silva Lobato
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Núcleo de Pesquisa Vegetal Básica e AplicadaUniversidade Federal Rural da AmazôniaParagominasBrazil
  2. 2.Centro de Ciências Naturais e HumanasUniversidade Federal do ABCSão PauloBrazil

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