Intraspecific responses of Fagopyrum esculentum to enhanced ultraviolet B radiation

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Abstract

The effects of supplemental UV-B radiation on crop growth, morphology, reproduction and physiology were studied in three cultivars of Fagopyrum esculentum Moench (buckwheat) originating from high elevation (Qinghai-Tibet plateau) and lower altitudes (The Sichuan Basin). Our results showed that common buckwheat was sensitive to UV-B stress. Plant growth, development, and reproduction were inhibited by elevated UV-B radiation. Plant lipid oxidation and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity increased with increasing UV-B radiation, along with the concentration of phenylpropanoid compounds, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and ascorbic acid (Asa) concentration were also enhanced at the lowest level of supplemental UV-B radiation but decreased at the higher level of enhanced UV-B. While, a cultivar originating from elevated locations had lower dry matter accumulation and was more tolerant to UV-B radiation than cultivars originating from lower elevations. The effects on leaf thickness and increased antioxidant capacity could be linked with the improved performance of cultivar originating from high elevation when exposed to enhanced UV-B radiation. We conclude that UV-B tolerance should be considered prior to introducing or breeding common buckwheat cultivars from lowland cultivation to regions at high elevation such as the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

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