Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 185–194 | Cite as

Sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum L.) under salinity conditions: a comparison of leaf and root antioxidant responses

  • Karim Ben Hamed
  • Antonella Castagna
  • Elkahoui Salem
  • Annamaria Ranieri
  • Chedly Abdelly
Original Paper


The present study was carried out to compare the effect of NaCl on growth, cell membrane damage, and antioxidant defences in the halophyte Crithmum maritimum L. (sea fennel). Physiological and biochemical changes were investigated under control (0 mM NaCl) and saline conditions (100 and 300 mM NaCl). Biomass and growth of roots were more sensitive to NaCl than leaves. Roots were distinguished from leaves by increased electrolyte leakage and high malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activities, ascorbic acid (AA) and glutathione (GSH) concentrations were lower in the roots than in the leaves of control plants. The different activity patterns of antioxidant enzymes in response to 100 and 300 mM NaCl indicated that leaves and roots reacted differently to salt stress. Leaf CAT, APX and glutathione reductase (GR) activities were lowest at 300 mM NaCl, but they were unaffected by 100 mM NaCl. Only SOD activity was reduced in the latter treatment. Root SOD activity was significantly decreased in response to 300 mM NaCl and root APX activity was significantly higher in plants treated with 100 and 300 mM compared to the controls. The other activities in roots were insensitive to salt. The concentration of AA decreased in leaves at 100 and 300 mM NaCl, and in roots at 300 mM NaCl, when compared to control plants. The concentrations of GSH in NaCl-treated leaves and roots were not significantly different from the controls. In both organs, AA and GSH were predominating in the total pool in ascorbic acid and glutathione, under control or saline conditions.


Antioxidant enzymes Ascorbic acid Crithmum maritimum L. Glutathione Halophytes Leaves Oxidative stress Roots Salinity 



Ascorbic acid


Ascorbate peroxidase






Dehydroascorbate reductase


Dry weight


Electrical conductivity


Electrolyte leakage


Fresh weight


Glutathione reductase


Reduced glutathione


Oxidized glutathione


Lipid peroxidation




Monodehydroascorbate reductase


Relative growth rate


Reactive oxygen species


Superoxide dismutase







This work was financed by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology. It was supported by the bilateral scientific and technological collaboration between the Republic of Italy and the Republic of Tunisia in the sector of Agro economy and Technology of Alimentation (Code A3, Study of the interaction between salinity tolerance and antioxidant capacity in oleaginous halophytes: research of physiological and biochemical markers of salinity tolerance). We would like to thank the Editor in Chief Pr. Atkinson and the reviewers for critical reading of the manuscript, which significantly improved the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karim Ben Hamed
    • 1
  • Antonella Castagna
    • 2
  • Elkahoui Salem
    • 1
  • Annamaria Ranieri
    • 2
  • Chedly Abdelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Adaptation to Abiotic Stress, Center of BiotechnologyBorj-Cedria Science and Technology ParkHammam-LifTunisia
  2. 2.Departimento di Chimica e Biotecnologie AgrariaUniversità degli studi di PisaPisaItaly

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