Exogenous hydrogen peroxide enhances the response of corn (Zea mays L.) plants to drought stress

Document Type : Original research paper


1 Agronomy Department, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.

2 Molecular and Genetics Department, Genetics and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute of Tabrestan, Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural resources university, Sari, Iran.

3 Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Animal Science and Fisheries, Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University, Sari, Iran.


Drought stress is a significant factor limiting crop growth and production. In this experiment, the effect of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) application on water-stressed corn plants was investigated using various biochemical and molecular methods. Corn seedlings grown in hydroponic culture were treated with 2 mM H2O2 and subsequently exposed to water stress using polyethylene glycol 6000 at three levels: 0, -2 bar, and -4 bar. The results showed that drought stress significantly altered all of the studied traits. With an increase in stress levels, the activity of the catalase enzyme was decreased, and the highest drop, 50%, occurred eight days after stress. It was revealed that catalase activity increased by up to 18% on the second day after the stress, but it decreased significantly over time. The indigenous accumulation of H2O2 increased significantly in the -4 bar treatment four days after stress, while it was reduced by 50% on the eighth day post-stress. It was revealed that H2O2 application increased PAO gene expression 1.7 fold compared to the control plants. Its expression was decreased by 35% at -4 bar in control plants, while H2O2 treatment increased its expression by 2.8 times. These results indicate that H2O2 application enhanced tolerance to drought stress in corn plants.


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Volume 10, Issue 1
June 2022
Pages 60-73
  • Receive Date: 17 January 2023
  • Revise Date: 19 February 2023
  • Accept Date: 19 February 2023
  • First Publish Date: 19 February 2023