Polyamines (PAs) such as spermidine (Spd), spermine (Spm), and putrescine are involved in various biological functions including abiotic stress response. Whether PAs play an important role in cool-season turfgrass tolerance of drought stress is not well investigated. We have conducted a series of growth chamber (GC) studies including one hydroponic and two soil-based GC studies with creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) ‘Penncross’ and ‘Penn-G2’ to determine whether exogenous application of PAs may affect plant growth and stress tolerance. Application of relatively low concentrations of Spd (500 or 750 μM) or Spm (500 μM) promoted tillering rates under optimal growth conditions in hydroponics. The same levels of PA treatments moderated the damages associated with drought stress in the soil-based GC studies. The most notable differences in drought response associated with PA treatment were increased membrane health. This was observed as greater photochemical efficiency, higher quantum yield, less electrolyte leakage, and less lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde content) in PA-treated plants compared with control plants. The relatively low level of exogenous PAs used in this study did not have a major effect on plant water relations under drought stress. Canopy temperatures and soil moisture content were unaffected by any PA treatment; however, on some days during early drought stress, relative water content was significantly higher in PA-treated plants compared with controls. PA could play a major role in protecting photosynthetic and cellular membranes during drought stress of creeping bentgrass.
Vijaya Shukla, Yingmei Ma, and Emily Merewitz
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.