Exogenous application of ascorbic acid mitigates cadmium toxicity and uptake in Maize (Zea mays L.).


College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, Ministry of Education, Southwest University/Engineering Research Center of South Upland Agriculture, Chongqing, 400716, China. [Email]


Cadmium (Cd) contamination in agricultural soils is a prevalent environmental issue and poses potential threats to food security. Foliar ascorbic acid might prove a potent tool to alleviate toxicity of Cd toxicity in maize. An experiment was conducted with objectives to study exogenous ascorbic acid-modulated improvements in physiochemical attributes of maize under Cd toxicity. The experiment was conducted under completely randomized design. Treatments were comprised of varying concentrations of foliar ascorbic acid viz. 0.0, 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5 mM of AsA. Toxicity of Cd decreased the maize growth, increased lipid peroxidation, disturbed protein metabolism, and reduced the antioxidant defense capabilities compared with the control. However, foliar AsA significantly improved maize growth and development, photosynthetic capabilities, and protein concentrations in Cd-stressed maize plants. Meanwhile, the malondialdehyde contents and hydrogen peroxide accumulation levels in Cd-stressed maize plants decreased remarkably with increasing AsA concentrations. Furthermore, the combined treatments conspicuously boosted activities of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, catalase, and glutathione reductase under the Cd stress alone. In addition, the application of AsA reduced the Cd uptake by 10.3-12.3% in grains. Conclusively, foliar ascorbic acid alleviated the negative effects of Cd stress in maize and improved photosynthetic processes, osmolytes, and antioxidant defense systems.


Antioxidant defense,Ascorbic acid,Cadmium toxicity,Cadmium uptake,Maize,Oxidative damage,