Salicylic Acid: An Update on Biosynthesis and Action in Plant Response to Water Deficit and Performance Under Drought

  • Hanna BandurskaEmail author


Salicylic acid (SA) and its derivatives are the most widely known drugs in the world used to reduce pain and fever, helping to treat many inflammatory diseases, in the prevention of coronary heart disease and heart attacks, and in tumor suppression. This substance is also characterized by a high metabolic and physiological activity, which enables it to perform regulatory functions in plant development and reaction to biotic and abiotic stress factors. Under non-stress conditions, SA is present in plant tissues in quantities of several mg to several ng in one g of fresh mass. Its level substantially increases in plants exposed to water deficit. The accumulation of SA may result from its de novo synthesis through activation of enzymes involved in the synthesis of SA from phenylalanine, i.e. phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and benzoic-acid-2-hydroxylase (BA2H). SA accumulated in plants growing under the conditions of water shortage may be involved in the regulation of mechanisms responsible for resistance to drought through the control of water balance and activation of antioxidant system. Large body of evidences revealed that exogenous application of SA was effective in modeling plant responses to water deficit. Plant pre-treatment with SA resulted in higher tissue water content, increased activity of antioxidant enzymes, decreased level of lipid peroxidation and membrane injury and it also protected nitrate reductase activity against inhibition under water deficit conditions. These changes enable plants to survive under drought and play an essential role in countering the adverse effects of stress on growth and yield.


Drought Salicylic acid Water deficit Stress resistance 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant PhysiologyPoznań University of Life SciencesPoznańPoland

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