Cereal Research Communications

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 537–548 | Cite as

Priming Seed with Salicylic Acid Increases Grain Yield and Modifies Polyamine Levels in Maize

  • G. Szalai
  • M. Pál
  • T. Árendás
  • T. JandaEmail author


The application of naturally occurring biologically active compounds could be an effective method to improve crop productivity under changing environmental conditions. In the present work the effects of priming maize seed with salicylic acid were tested on the grain yield under field conditions, and on the salicylic acid and polyamine metabolism under controlled environmental conditions. The field data suggested that the beneficial effects of pre-treating maize seed with salicylic acid were mainly detectable in the yield in the case of early sowing dates. When young maize seedlings were exposed to low temperature stress, priming the seed with salicylic acid only modified the salicylic acid levels in the seed but not in the roots or leaves. The data suggested that salicylic acid was taken up by the seed and was then converted to bound forms. In contrast to salicylic acid, 5 days after sowing there was a substantial increase in the free form of ortho-hydroxy cinnamic acid in the seed, roots and leaves. Priming with salicylic acid also led to an increase in the putrescine content and a slight decrease in spermidine in the seed. The levels of putrescine, spermidine and spermine also increased in the roots of plants treated with salicylic acid under normal growth conditions. The results suggest that polyamines may also contribute to the stress tolerance of plants primed with salicylic acid.


cold polyamines priming salicylic acid Zea mays


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural Institute, Centre for Agricultural ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesMartonvásárHungary

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