Presowing seed treatment with melatonin protects red cabbage seedlings against toxic copper ion concentrations


Address reprint requests to Małgorzata M. Posmyk, Department of Ecophysiology and Plant Development, University of Lodz, Banacha 12/16, 90-237 Lodz, Poland.


Abstract:  One of the targets of modern plant physiology is to identify tools for improving seed germination and plant growth under unfavorable environmental conditions. Seeds of Brassica oleracea rubrum were pretreated with melatonin at concentrations: 1, 10, and 100 μm using a hydropriming method. Air-dried seeds of each experimental variants that were nonpretreated (control), hydroprimed (H) or hydroprimed with melatonin (HM1, HM10, and HM100) were germinated in darkness for 3 days at 25°C. Young seedlings were then transferred to the light and grown for an additional 5 days. Both germination and growth tests were performed in water and in CuSO4 water solutions in concentrations of 0.5 and 1 mm. H, HM1 and HM10 improved seed germination both in water and in the presence of Cu2+. One or 10 μm melatonin eliminated the inhibitory effect of the 0.5 mm metal concentration on the fresh weight of seedlings. HM100 had a negative effect; thus seed germination was lower and seedlings had poor establishment. The toxic effect of Cu2+ manifested by membrane peroxidation and DNA endoreplication blocking in the seedlings grown from nontreated (control) and H seeds was not observed in the seedlings grown from HM1 and HM10 seeds; in contrast, HM100 enhanced the toxic effect of Cu2+.