Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 205–217 | Cite as

ABA application to maize hybrids contrasting for drought tolerance: changes in water parameters and in antioxidant enzyme activity

  • Thiago Corrêa de Souza
  • Paulo César Magalhães
  • Evaristo Mauro de Castro
  • Newton Portilho Carneiro
  • Fábio Andrade Padilha
  • Carlos César Gomes Júnior
Original paper


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of abscisic acid (ABA) related to the increase of water-stress tolerance in two drought contrasting maize hybrids: DKB 390 (tolerant) and BRS 1030 (sensitive). The characterization of water status (pre-dawn leaf water potential, Ψpd; midday leaf water potential, Ψmd and stem water potential, Ψst) and antioxidant enzyme activity was conducted on greenhouse grown plants. The ABA, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents were also analyzed. Water deficit was imposed for 10 days at the flowering stage and a dosage of 100 μM ABA was applied to plant canopy. Measurements were taken during 10 days after the water recovery. With 5 days of stress, the tolerant hybrid showed lower MDA content, decrease in the water status, and higher activity of the enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, as well as guaiacol, glutathione reductase, dehydroascorbate reductase, polyphenol oxidase, and l-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, as compared to the sensitive hybrid. With 10 days of stress, DKB 390 had a decrease in the activity of enzymes whereas BRS 1030 showed a higher activity. In addition, the latter showed greater amounts of H2O2 and MDA. ABA application led to a higher tolerance only in DKB 390, due to the increase of water status and the enzymatic activity, mainly the catalase.


Zea maysWater stress Oxidative stress Abscisic acid Water potential Yield 



The authors would like to thank Capes for the scholarship; Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Milho e Sorgo, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), and Laboratório de Anatomia Vegetal da Universidade Federal de Lavras for providing the facilities and materials that made this research possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thiago Corrêa de Souza
    • 1
  • Paulo César Magalhães
    • 2
  • Evaristo Mauro de Castro
    • 1
  • Newton Portilho Carneiro
    • 2
  • Fábio Andrade Padilha
    • 2
  • Carlos César Gomes Júnior
    • 2
  1. 1.Section of Plant Physiology, Department of BiologyFederal University of LavrasLavrasBrazil
  2. 2.National Maize and Sorghum Research CenterSete LagoasBrazil

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