Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 41–56 | Cite as

Improving vanadium stress tolerance of watermelon by grafting onto bottle gourd and pumpkin rootstock

  • Muhammad Azher Nawaz
  • Chen Chen
  • Fareeha Shireen
  • Zhuhua Zheng
  • Yanyan Jiao
  • Hamza Sohail
  • Muhammad Afzal
  • Muhammad Imtiaz
  • Muhammad Amjad Ali
  • Yuan Huang
  • Zhilong Bie
Original paper


Vanadium (V) is a transition metal found in the Earth crust. V adversely affects plant growth and development. Besides several other management practices, grafting of scion cultivars onto appropriate rootstock provides a suitable solution. Grafting is an important agro-technical procedure utilized to enhance the capacity of plants to tolerate biotic and abiotic stresses. In this study, watermelon was grafted onto bottle gourd and pumpkin rootstock, and self-grafted watermelon plants were utilized as a control. V was applied at the rate of 50 mg/L under hydroponic conditions. The result showed that V application substantially reduces the growth of watermelon plants, however, grafting of watermelon onto bottle gourd and pumpkin rootstock improves V stress tolerance of watermelon by reducing the V concentration in leaf tissues, improving the relative chlorophyll content (SPAD index) and photosynthetic assimilation, up-regulating the expression of SOD (Cla008698, Cla0012125, Cla009820 and Cla001158), glutathione S-transferase (Cla013224) and glutathione peroxidase (Cla021039) genes in the leaves, and enhancing the activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT). The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the root tips showed that minimal damage of roots was observed for pumpkin roots compared with the roots of watermelon and bottle gourd under V stress conditions. So far as we know, these results are the first evidence that grafting mitigates V stress in plants.


Heavy metals Vanadium Grafting Rootstock Citrullus lanatus Bottle gourd Pumpkin Abiotic stress Antioxidant enzymes 



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471919, 31201660, and 41650110482) and China Agriculture Research System (CARS-26-16).

Supplementary material

10725_2018_372_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1837 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Azher Nawaz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chen Chen
    • 1
  • Fareeha Shireen
    • 1
  • Zhuhua Zheng
    • 1
  • Yanyan Jiao
    • 1
  • Hamza Sohail
    • 1
  • Muhammad Afzal
    • 2
  • Muhammad Imtiaz
    • 3
  • Muhammad Amjad Ali
    • 4
  • Yuan Huang
    • 1
  • Zhilong Bie
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology, Ministry of Education/College of Horticulture and Forestry SciencesHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.University College of Agriculture, University of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan
  3. 3.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringGuangzhou UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Plant Pathology, and Centre of Agricultural Biochemistry and BiotechnologyUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan

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