Exogenous curcumin mitigates As stress in spinach plants: A biochemical and metabolomics investigation


Plant Physiol Biochem. 2024 May 8;211:108713. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2024.108713. Online ahead of print.


The spinach (S. oleracea L.) was used as a model plant to investigate As toxicity on physio-biochemical processes, exploring the potential mitigation effect of curcumin (Cur) applied exogenously at three concentrations (1, 10, and 20 μM Cur). The employment of Cur significantly mitigated As-induced stress in spinach photosynthetic performance (Fv/Fm, Fo/Fm, and Fv/Fo). Moreover, the co-incubation of Cur with As improved physiological processes mainly associated with plant water systems affected by As stress by recovering the leaf’s relative water content (RWC) and osmotic potential (ψπ) nearly to the control level and increasing the transpiration rate (E; 39-59%), stomatal conductivity (gs; 86-116%), and carbon assimilation rate (A; 84-121%) compared to As stressed plants. The beneficial effect of Cur in coping with As-induced stress was also assessed at the plant’s oxidative level by reducing oxidative stress biomarkers (H2O2 and MDA) and increasing non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity. Untargeted metabolomics analysis was adopted to investigate the main processes affected by As and Cur application. A multifactorial ANOVA discrimination model (AMOPLS-DA) and canonical correlation analysis (rCCA) were employed to identify relevant metabolic changes and biomarkers associated with Cur and As treatments. The results highlighted that Cur significantly determined the accumulation of glucosinolates, phenolic compounds, and an increase in glutathione redox cycle activities, suggesting an overall elicitation of plant secondary metabolisms. Specifically, the correlation analysis reported a strong and positive correlation between (+)-dihydrokaempferol, L-phenylalanine (precursor of phenolic compounds), and serotonin-related metabolites with antioxidant activities (ABTS and DPPH), suggesting the involvement of Cur application in promoting a cross-talk between ROS signaling and phytohormones, especially melatonin and serotonin, working coordinately to alleviate As-induced oxidative stress. The modulation of plant metabolism was also observed at the level of amino acids, fatty acids, and secondary metabolites synthesis, including N-containing compounds, terpenes, and phenylpropanoids to cooperate with As-induced stress response.

PMID:38739963 | DOI:10.1016/j.plaphy.2024.108713