Calcium ameliorates the toxicity of sulfate salinity in Brassica rapa

Salinity stress in Brassica, often only associated with osmotic effects and the toxicity of Na+, was more severe when applied as Na2SO4 than as NaCl, indicating that SO42− ions had toxic effects as well. Application of 10 mM calcium in the form of CaCl2 in the growth medium of plants only slightly ameliorated growth impairment by NaCl and KCl, but almost completely prevented negative effects of Na2SO4 and K2SO4 on plant biomass production. This effect was calcium specific, as MgCl2 ameliorated sulfate toxicity to a much lower extent. This sulfate toxicity coincided with a strong decrease in the plant content of calcium and manganese upon sulfate salinity. Application of CaCl2 largely alleviated this decrease, however, it did not prevent the higher tissue concentration of sulfate. CaCl2 prevented the increase in organic sulfur compounds presumably by reducing of relative gene expression of ATP-sulfurylase (ATPS) and adenosine 5′-phosphosulfate reductase (APR) indicating a possible regulation of sulfate assimilation by calcium. The upregulation of the genes encoding for Group 4 sulfate transporters (Sultr4;1 and 4;2) upon sulfate salinity, was absent in the presence of CaCl2. Therefore, additional calcium may facilitate an increased vacuolar capacity for sulfate accumulation.

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DOI 10.1016/j.jplph.2018.08.014
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