Plants (Basel). 2020 Sep 28 ;9(10). Epub 2020 Sep 28. PMID: 32998250
Melatonin Counteracts Drought Induced Oxidative Damage and Stimulates Growth, Productivity and Fruit Quality Properties of Tomato Plants.
Melatonin”-Acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine”(MT) has recently been considered as a new plant growth regulator with multiple physiological functions. Although many previous studies have confirmed that exogenous applied-MT can alleviate the deleterious effects of drought stress in many plant species, most of these studies were exclusive on seeds, seedlings, and young plants for a short period of their life cycles. Therefore, the knowledge of using MT as a potential promising agricultural foliar application to improve crop productivity and quality is still insufficient under adverse open field conditions. In this study, we investigated the effect of MT as a foliar application at 0, 20, and 40 ppm on tomato plants that were grown in the open field under the long term of optimal and deficit irrigation conditions. The results indicated that exogenous MT significantly enhanced plant growth, chlorophyll and activities of antioxidant enzymes, including ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POX). This improvement was associated with a marked reduction in proline and soluble sugars. In addition, applied-MT worked as a protective agent against oxidative damage by reducing the cellular content of toxic substances such as HOand malondialdehyde (MDA). Similarly, MT-treated plants showed greater total fruit yield with improving its quality attributes like total soluble solids (TSS), ascorbic acid, and lycopene. Generally, the highest significant fruit yield either under well-watered (13.7%) or water deficit (37.4%) conditions was achieved by the treatment of 20 ppm MT. These results indicate that exogenous MT played an essential role in enhancing tomato tolerance to deficit irrigation and could be recommended as a promising agricultural treatment under such conditions.