Exogenous Proline Application Reduces Phytotoxic Effects of Selenium by Minimising Oxidative stress and Improves Growth in Bean (<i>Phaseolus vulgaris</i> L.) Seedlings
Bean ( Phaseolus vulgaris L.) seedlings were subjected to varying selenium levels (1, 2, 4, and 6 ppm) in a hydroponic culture. The germination reached 100% in 48 h in all Se levels except 6 ppm, where it took 72 h. The root and shoot growth was stimulated at 1 and 2 ppm Se levels that was commensurate with increase in chlorophyll content, leaf water content, and cellular respiration. At 4 and 6 ppm Se levels, the growth was inhibited appreciably, which was associated with increase in stress injury measured as damage to membranes and decrease in cellular respiration, chlorophyll, and leaf water content. The oxidative injury as elevation of lipid peroxidation was larger compared to hydrogen peroxide accompanied by reduced levels of enzymatic (superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and glutathione reductase) and non-enzymatic (ascorbic acid and glutathione) antioxidants. Proline content was significantly higher at 1 and 2 ppm Se but diminished considerably at 4 and 6 ppm levels concomitant with the reduced growth. Exogenous application of proline (50 µM) resulted in substantiation of its endogenous levels that antagonised the toxic effects of Se by improving the growth of seedlings. The stress injury was reduced significantly with simultaneous increase in enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Especially the components of ascorbate–glutathione cycle showed larger stimulation with proline application. The role of proline in mitigating the toxic effects of Se is discussed.