Salinity stress is becoming more prevalent in turfgrass management with the increasing use of recycled water for irrigation. Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) is a cool-season turfgrass species that contains significant cultivar variation in salt stress tolerance, but the mechanism related to this cultivar variation is not well understood. Our objectives were to determine whether differential hormone content could play a role in cultivar variation of salt responses and to evaluate whether cell viability assays using dye techniques could differentiate salt stress damage levels in turfgrass species. Therefore, a growth chamber study with potted plants was conducted to evaluate salt ion concentrations, physiological responses, and hormone analysis [abscisic acid (ABA), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA), zeatin riboside (ZR), and ethylene] at 4, 8, and 12 dS·m−1 in relatively salt-tolerant ‘Mariner’ compared with salt-sensitive ‘Penncross’ creeping bentgrass. A hydroponics-based growth chamber study was performed for evaluation of whether dead-cell stains coupled with image analysis could be a quick method for indicating cell viability variation between cultivars. Greater salt tolerance was evident in ‘Mariner’ at 12 dS·m−1, which showed significantly lower electrolyte leakage, higher leaf relative water content (RWC), osmotic potential, photochemical efficiency, and photochemical yield compared with ‘Penncross’. A higher K+ and lower Na+ content was maintained in leaves of ‘Mariner’ compared with ‘Penncross’ while roots of ‘Mariner’ maintained higher Ca2+ content under stressed and nonstressed conditions. Phytohormone levels showed a decline in salt-stressed roots compared with nonstressed plants but ‘Mariner’ roots were able to maintain levels higher than ‘Penncross’. ‘Mariner’ leaves showed an increased accumulation of ABA, JA, SA, and ZR while roots maintained higher IAA and SA compared with ‘Penncross’. The results suggest that ‘Mariner’ was able to mitigate salt stress by better ion regulation and differential regulation of hormones compared with ‘Penncross’. ‘Mariner’ leaves and roots showed significantly lower dead cells compared with ‘Penncross’ under salt stress. The results suggest that staining for cell viability could be a useful technique for studying turfgrass stress or other cellular responses.
Sanalkumar Krishnan and Emily B. Merewitz
Sanalkumar Krishnan and Emily B. Merewitz
Polyamines (PAs), spermine (Spm), and spermidine (Spd) may enhance the abiotic stress tolerance and growth of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera). Growth chamber studies were conducted to investigate the effect of PA application on the physiological response and hormone content in creeping bentgrass ‘Penn-G2’ under drought. Spm (1 mm) and Spd (5 mm) were applied exogenously under drought or well-watered conditions. PA-treated plants maintained significantly higher turf quality (TQ), relative water content (RWC), photochemical efficiency, and membrane health while maintaining lower canopy temperature. Spm at the 1-mm rate had a 2.46-fold higher osmotic adjustment (OA) at 10 d compared with control plants. A greater content of gibberellic acid (GA) isoforms (GA1, GA4, and GA20) were observed compared with controls during both studies for PA-treated plants under drought. After 7 days of drought stress in Expt.1, GA1 levels were 3.26 higher for Spm 1-mm-treated plants compared with drought controls. GA4 contents were 69% and 65% higher compared with drought-stressed-untreated plants for Spd 5-mm application after 9 and 11 days. Higher levels of GA20 were observed at 10 days (Spd 5 mm, 108.9% higher) due to PA treatment compared with drought controls. In addition to differential regulation of GA isoforms, we observed enhanced abscisic acid (ABA) due to PA application; however, not on a consistent basis. This study showed that PA application may play a role in GA1, GA4, and ABA accumulation in creeping bentgrass ‘Penn G-2’ under drought stress.
Sanalkumar Krishnan, Yingmei Ma, and Emily Merewitz
Mowing frequencies are associated with differences in disease susceptibility of turfgrasses, but how hormones respond to mowing practices are not fully understood. Two independent growth chamber experiments were conducted to determine how leaf trimming and heat stress play a role in modulating endogenous hormones within creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) leaf tissues. The study also aimed to evaluate whether there are hormone changes at 0, 15, and 30 minutes after leaf trimming (wounding). The effects of trimming and temperature on sod plugs of creeping bentgrass ‘Penncross’ and ‘Penn-G2’ were investigated under optimal conditions (23/20 °C day/night) and heat stress (30/25 °C day/night). Plants were 1) untrimmed and sampled by plucking at the leaf base, 2) untrimmed and sampled by cutting at 0, 15, and 30 minutes, or 3) trimmed once every 3 days. Salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), abscisic acid (ABA), and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) were generally greater in untrimmed plants compared with plants trimmed every 3 days under high temperature conditions. Zeatin riboside (ZR) was lower in untrimmed plants compared with plants trimmed every 3 days. JA and gibberellic acid (GA) accumulated to greater levels in the plants after 15 and 30 minutes of sampling. Polyamines (PAs) exhibited a transient increase in putrescine (Put) due to wounding. The results demonstrate the importance of research practices that consider the timing of sampling turfgrass plants for hormone analysis, help elucidate why mowing practices may play a role in stress susceptibility, and may be applicable to various studies related to leaf wounding.
Sanalkumar Krishnan, Kevin Laskowski, Vijaya Shukla, and Emily B. Merewitz
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is an important forage and turfgrass species that is sensitive to drought stress. The objective of this study was to investigate whether gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) may play a role in promoting drought tolerance in grass species. GABA was exogenously applied as a foliar spray at the rate of 50 or 70 mm to perennial ryegrass ‘CSI’ under well-watered or drought-stressed conditions in a controlled-environment growth chamber. The effect of GABA on the growth physiology, drought stress response, antioxidant activity, and lipid peroxidation of perennial ryegrass exposed to drought stress was measured. GABA-treated perennial ryegrass exposed to drought stress had higher relative water content (RWC), turf quality, and peroxidase activity and lower wilt rating, canopy temperature depression, electrolyte leakage, and lipid peroxidation compared with untreated plants. GABA application had no significant effect on the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase under well-watered and drought conditions. GABA application at 50 mm was found to be more effective in alleviating drought stress damage in perennial ryegrass. The results from this study suggest that GABA mitigated drought stress damage in perennial ryegrass by maintaining higher RWC and membrane stability.