Alleviation of Drought Stress Effects by Exogenous Application of Spermidine and Salicylic Acid on Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Horticultural Science and Landscape Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


Drought is one of the most important environmental factors limiting the cultivation of ornamental plants in the green space. The effects of spermidine and salicylic acid on hollyhock (Alcea rosea L.)under drought stress were investigated. At first, the plants were sprayed with 3 doses of spermidine and 3 doses of salicylic acid (control, 100, 200 and 400 μM) for three consecutive days, then were subjected to drought stress (40, 60, 80 % FC) for 2 weeks. The results showed that drought stress increase up to 40 % FC increased electrolyte leakage, proline and superoxide dismutase enzyme activity compared to control plants. Also, the application of 100 μM spermidine and salicylic acid in different concentrations of spraying solutions significantly reduced electrolyte leakage and catalase enzyme activity and increased the relative water content (RWC), proline, protein, number of flower, leaf area and superoxide dismutase enzyme activity, but higher concentrations (400 μM) was ineffective or had inhibitive effects. Treated plants with 100 μM spermidine and salicylic acid showed higher tolerance to drought stress (up to 40 % FC) with regard to lower electrolyte leakage (by 5 %) and higher relative water content (by 11 and 9 %), proline content (by 31 and 21 %), SPAD (by 18 and 5 %) and dry weight (by 3 %) compared with non-treated plants under 40 % FC. Hollyhock growth severely suffered by water deficit, but application of spermidine and salicylic acid promoted RWC, proline and protein content under water deficit conditions. Foliar application of spermidine and salicylic acid could be considered as an economical practice for increasing hollyhock performance under water deficit conditions.


Adam, S. and Murthy, S. 2013. Role of polyamines and their effect on photosynthesis in plants. Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, 4: 596-605.

Agarwal, S. and Pandey, V. 2004. Antioxidant enzyme responses to NaCl stress in Cassia angustifolia. Plant Biology, 48: 555-560.

Agnes, S., Csiszar, J., Bajkan, S., Gemes, K., Horvath, F., Erdei, L., Deer, A.K., Simon, M.L. and Tari, I. 2005. Role of salicylic acid pre- treatment on the acclimation of tomato plants to salt and osmotic stress. Acta Biologica Szegediensis, 49: 123-125.

Ahmadiyan, A., Ghanbari, A., Siahsar, B., Heydari, M., Ramroudi, M. and Mousavi Nik, S.M. 2010. Effects of residual of chemical fertilizer, cattle manure and compost on yield, yield components, some physiological characteristics and essential oil content of Matricaria chamomilla under drought stress condition. Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research, 8: 668-676.

Ahmed, B., Roy, C.D., Subramaniam, S.A., Ganie, D., Kwatra, D., Dixon, D., Anant, A., Zarqar, M.A. and Umar, S. 2016. An ornamental plant targets epigenetic signaling to block cancer stem cell driven colon carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis, 37: 385-396.

Almeida, V.O., Batista, K.A., Di-Medeiros, M.C.B., Moraes, M.G. and Fernandes, K.F. 2019. Effect of drought stress on the morphological and physicochemical properties of starches from Trimezia juncifolia. Carbohydrate Polymers, 212: 304-311.

Alscher, R., Heath, A., Erturk, N. and Heath, L.S. 2002. Role of superoxide dismutases (SODs) in controlling oxidative stress in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53: 1331-1341.

Bajji, M., Kinet, J.M. and Lutts, S. 2002. Osmotic and ionic effects of NaCl on germination, early seedling growth and ion content of Atriplex halimus (Chenopodiaceae). Canadian Journal of Botany, 80: 297-304.

Barranco, D., Ruiz, N. and Gomez del Campo, M. 2005. Frost tolerance of eight olive cultivars. HortScience,40: 558-560.

Bates, L.S., Waldren, R.P. and Teare, I.D. 1973. Rapid determination of free proline for water stress studies. Plant and Soil, 39: 205-207.

Bradford, M.M. 1976. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Analytical Biochemistry, 72: 248-54.

Chance, B. and Maehly, A.C. 1955. Assay of catalase and peroxidase. Methods in Enzymology, 2: 764-775.

Cleland, C.F. and Ajami, A. 1974. Identification of the flower-inducing factor isolated from aphid honeydew as being salicylic acid. Plant Physiology, 54: 904-906.

DaCosta, M. and Huang, B. 2007. Changes in antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid peroxidation for bent-grass species in responses to drought stress. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 132: 319-326.

El Tayeb, M.A. and Ahmed, N.L. 2010. Response of wheat cultivars to drought and salicylic acid. American-Eurasian Journal of Agronomy, 3: 01-07.

Eraslan, F., Inal, A., Gunes, A. and Alpaslan, M. 2007. Impact of salicylic acid on growth, antioxidant activity and physiology of carrot plants subjected to combined salinity and boron toxicity. Scientia Horticulturae, 113: 120-128.

Faize, M., Burgos, L., Faize, L., Piqueras, A., Nicolas, E., Barba-Espin, G., Clemente-Moreno, M.J., Alcobendas, R., Artlip, T. and Hernandez, J.A. 2011. Involvement of cytosolic ascorbate peroxidase and Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase for improved tolerance against drought stress. Journal of Experimental Botany, 62: 2599-2613.

Fang, Y. and Xiong, L. 2015. General mechanisms of drought response and their application in drought resistance improvement in plants. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 72: 673–689.

Fariduddin, Q., Hayat, S. and Ahmad, A. 2003. Salicylic acid influences net photosynthetic rate, carboxylation efficiency, nitrate reductase activity, and seed yield in Brassica juncea. Photosynthetica, 41: 281-284.

Farjadi-Shakib, M., Naderi, R. and Mashhadi Akbar Boojar, M. 2012. Effect of salicylic acid application on morphological, physiological and biochemical characteristics of Cyclamen persicum Miller. Annals of Biological Research, 3: 5631-5639.

Farooq, M., Aziz Basra, T. S. M. A., Cheema, M. A. and Rehman, H. 2009a. Chilling tolerance in hybrid maize induced by seed priming with salicylic acid. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 194: 161-168.

Farooq, M., Wahid, A., Kobayashi, N., Fujita D. and Basra, S.M.A. 2009b. Plant drought stress: Effects, mechanisms and management. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 29: 185-212.

Farooq, M., Wahid, A., Lee, D.J., Cheema, S.A. and Aziz, T. 2010. Comparative time course action of the foliar applied glycinebetaine, salicylic acid, nitrous oxide, brassinosteroids and spermine in improving drought resistance of rice. Agronomy and Crop Science, 196: 336-345.

Gechev, T., Gadjev, I., van-Breusegem, F., Inze, D., Dukiandjiev, S., Toneva, V. and Minkov, I. 2002. Hydrogen peroxide protects tobacco from oxidative stress by inducing a set of antioxidant enzymes. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 59: 708-714.

Ghodke, P.H., Andhale, P.S., Gijare, U.M., Thangasamy, A., Khade, Y.P., Mahajan, V. and Singh, M. 2018. Physiological and biochemical responses in onion crop to drought stress. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 7: 2054-2062.

Giannopolitis, C.N. and Reis, S.K. 1977. Superoxide dismutase I. Occurrence in higher plants. Plant Physiology, 59: 309-314.

Gill, S.S. and Tuteja, N. 2010. Reactive oxygen species and antioxidant machinery in abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 48: 909-930.

Guo, Y., Tian, Y., Liu, S.S., Wang, S.S. and Sui, W.Q.N. 2018. Energy dissipation and antioxidant enzyme system protect photosystem II of sweet sorghum under drought stress. Photosynthetica, 56: 861-872.

Hayat, S., Hasan, S.A., Fariduddin, Q. and Ahmad, A. 2008. Growth of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in response to salicylic acid under water stress. Journal of Plant Interactions, 3: 297–304.

Hoagland, D.R. and Arnon, D.I. 1950. The water culture method for growing plants without soil. College of Agriculture, University of California in Berkeley, Calif. 32 pages.

Horvath, E., Szalai, G. and Janda, T. 2007. Induction of abiotic stress tolerance by salicylic acid signaling. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 26: 290-300.

Hussain, L., Akash, M.S.H., Tahir, M., Rehman, K. and Ahmed, K.Z. 2014. Hepatoprotective effects of methanolic extract of Alcea rosea against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in mice.Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology, 9: 322-327.

Janda, T., Szalai, G., Rios-Gonzalez, K., Veisz, O. and Paldi, E. 2003. Comparative study of frost tolerance and antioxidant activity in cereals. Plant Science, 164: 301-306.

Jiang, M. and Zhang, J. 2001. Effect of abscisic acid on active oxygen species, antioxidative defence system and oxidative damage in leaves of maize seedlings. Plant Cell Physiology, 42: 1265- 1273.

Kang, D.J., Seo, Y.J., Lee, J.D., Ishii, R., Kim, K.U., Shin, D.H., Park, S.K., Jang, S.W. and Lee, I.J. 2005. Jasmonic acid differentially affects growth, ion uptake and abscisic acid concentration in salt-tolerant and salt-sensitive rice cultivars. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 191: 273-282.

Khalighi, A., Naderi, R., Salami, A.R., Babalar, M., Rohollahi, E. and Khaleghi, Gh.R. 2016. Evaluating the effect of spermidine and salicylic acid on reduce drought stress injuries of one-year-old Maclura pomifera seedlings. Journal of Crop Improvement, 18: 231-244.

Khan, W., Prithviraj, B. and Smith, D.L. 2003. Photosynthetic responses of corn and soybean to foliar application of salicylates. Journal of Plant Physiology, 160: 485-492.

Koyro, H., Ahmad, P. and Geissler, N. 2012. Abiotic stress responses in plants: An overview. Environmental Adaptations and Stress Tolerance of Plants in the Era of Climate Change, pp. 1-28.

Krantev, A., Yordanova, R., Janda, T., Szalai, G. and Popova, L. 2008. Treatment with salicylic acid decreases the effect of cadmium on photosynthesis in maize plants. Journal of Plant Physiology, 165: 920-931.

Krasensky, J. and Jonak, C. 2012. Drought, salt, and temperature stress-induced metabolic rearrangements and regulatory networks. Experimental Botany, 63: 1593-1608.

Larkunthod, P., Nounjan, N., Siangliw, J.L., Toojinda, T., Sanitchon, J., Jongdee, B. and Theerakulpisut, P. 2018. Physiological responses under drought stress of improved drought-tolerant rice lines and their parents. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 46: 679-687.

Latif, F., Ullah, F., Mehmood, S., Khattak, A., Khan, A.U., Khan, S. and Husain, I. 2015. Effects of salicylic acid on growth and accumulation of phenolics in Zea mays L. under drought stress. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil and Plant Science, 66: 335-323.

Lee, B. and Zhu, J.K. 2010.  Phenotypic analysis of Arabidopsis mutants: Electrolyte leakage after freezing stress. Cold Spring Harbour Protocols, No. 4970.

Martin-Mex, R., Villanueva-Couoh, E., Herrera-Campos, T. and Larque-Saavedra, A. 2005. Positive effect of salicylates on the flowering of African violet. Scientia Horticulturae, 103: 499-502.

Martin-Mex, R., Villanueva-Couoh, E., Uicab-Quijano, V. and Larque-Saavedra, A. 2003. Positive effect of salicylic acid on the flowering of gloxinia. Proceedings 31st Annual Meeting Plant Growth Regulation Society of America, Vancouver, Canada. 3-6 August 2003, p. 149-151.

Merwad, A.M.A., Desoky, E.M. and Rady, M.M. 2018. Response of water deficit-stressed Vigna unguiculata performances to silicon, proline or methionine foliar application. Scientia Horticulturae, 228: 132-144.

Michaletii, N., Naghavi, M.R., Toorch, M., Zolla, L. and Rinaldocci, S. 2018. Metabolomics and proteomics reveal drought-stress responses of leaf tissues from spring-wheat. Scientific Report, 8: 5710-5728.

Mustafavi, S.H., Shekari, F., Nasiri, Y. and Hatami-Maleki, H. 2015. Nutritional and biochemical response of water-stressed valerian plants to foliar application of spermidine. Biological Forum – An International Journal, 7: 1811-1815.

Noman, A., Aqeel, M., Deng, J., Khalid, N., Sanaullah, T. and Shuilin, H. 2017. Biotechnological advancements for improving floral attributes in ornamental plants. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8: 1-15.

Oraee, A., Tehraifar, A., Nezami, A. and Shoor, M. 2018. Effects of drought stress on cold hardiness of non-acclimated viola (Viola×wittrockiana ‘Iona Gold with Blotch’) in controlled conditions. Scientia Horticulturae, 238: 98-106.

Pakravan, M. and Ghahreman, A. 2003. Some new combinations and synonyms in Alcea (Malvaceae) from Iran. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien, 104: 713-716.

Pan, Q., Zhan, J., Liu, H., Zhang, J., Chen, J., Wen, P. and Huang, W. 2006. Salicylic acid synthesized by benzoic acid 2- hydroxylase participates in the development of thermos-tolerance in pea plants. Plant Science, 171: 226-233.

Reddy, A.R., Chaitanya, K.V. and Vive Kanandan, M. 2004. Drought-induced responses of photosynthesis and antioxidant metabolism in higher plants. Journal of Plant Physiology,161:1189-1202.

Rezayian, M., Niknam, V. and Ebrahimzadeh, H. 2018. Improving tolerance against drought in canola by penconazole and calcium. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, 149: 123-136.

Sawhney, V. and Singh, D.P. 2002. Effect of chemical desiccation at the post-anthesis stage on some physiological and biochemical changes in the flag leaf of contrasting wheat genotypes. Field Crops Research, 77: 1-6.

Turner, N.C. 1981. Techniques and experimental approaches for the measurement of plant water status. Plant and Soil, 58 (1): 339-366.

Turner, N.C. 2018. Turgor maintenance by osmotic adjustment – 40 years of progress. Journal of Experimental Botany, 69: 3223-3233.

Tyagia, J., Varma, A. and Pudake, R.N. 2017. Evaluation of comparative effects of arbuscular mycorrhiza (Rhizophagus intraradices) and endophyte (Piriformospora indica) association with finger millet (Eleusine coracana) under drought stress. European Journal of Soil Biology,81:1-10.

Ullah, F., Bano, A. and Nosheen, A. 2012. Effects of plant growth regulators on growth and oil quality of canolas (Brassica napus L.) under drought stress. Journal of Botany, 44: 1873-1880.

Vahdati Mashhadian, N., Tehranifar, A., Bayat, H. and Selahvarzi, Y. 2012. Salicylic and citric acid treatments improve the vase life of cut chrysanthemum flowers. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 14: 879-887.

Zarghami, M., Shoor, M., Ganjali, A., Moshtaghi, N. and Tehranifar, A. 2014. Effect of salicylic acid on morphological and ornamental characteristics of petunia hybrid at drought stress. Indian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Life Sciences, 4: 523-532.

Zhang, T., Hub, Y., Zhang, K., Tianc, C. and Guoa, J. 2018. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi improve plant growth of Ricinus communis by altering photosynthetic properties and increasing pigments under drought and salt stress. Industrial Crops and Products, 17: 13-19.

Zhang, C.M., Zou, Z.R., Huang, Z. and Zhang, Z.X. 2010. Effects of exogenous spermidine on photosynthesis of tomato seedlings under drought stress. Agricultural Research in the Arid Areas,3: 182-187.