Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (4): 407-415.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0040

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Physiological responses of two poplar species to high boron stress

WU Xiu-Li1, OU Yong-Bin1, YUAN Gai-Huan1, CHEN Yong-Fu1, WANG Yang1, YAO Yin-An1,2,*()   

  1. 1Life Science and Engineering College, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang, Sichuan 621000, China
    2Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ürümqi 830011, China
  • Received:2014-10-27 Accepted:2015-03-17 Online:2015-04-21 Published:2015-04-01
  • Contact: Yin-An YAO
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

In recent years, international studies have found that poplar species could accumulate high boron with hypertolerance ability. Our objective was to investigate the effect of growth and physiological indicators of Populus russkii and P. bolleca under different boron concentrations, and determine the interspecific difference on boron tolerance, to help explaining and providing certain theoretical basis of phytoremediation technology for boron pollution treatment.


Poplar cuttings were grown in potting soil and added boron after three months. Physiological properties tested included plant height, fresh biomass, chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, chlorophyll content, activities of catalase (CAT) and guaiacol peroxidase (Gu-POD), soluble protein (SP) content and soluble carbohydrate (SC) content.

<i>Important findings</i>

Boron stress seriously inhibited the growth and affected the chlorophyll fluorescence parameters of the two poplar species. Populus russkii was more sensitive than P. bolleca to boron stress, and P. bolleca could stand higher boron level than P. russkii. The boron damage threshold (10%) of P. russkii and P. bolleca were 19 and 35 mg·kg-1, respectively. The plant height, fresh mass and chlorophyll decreased linearly with the increase of soil boron concentrations. For antioxidant parameters analysis, the activities of CAT and Gu-POD increased at first, and then decreased with increasing concentration of applied boron. Populus bolleca kept higher chlorophyll a/b and non-photochemical quenching than P. russkii under boron stress. Soluble protein and soluble carbohydrate increased with the increasing concentration of applied boron. These results demonstrated that the two poplar species eased the boron toxicity by strengthen the metabolism of protein synthesis but the capacity of clearing up the harmful peroxide was limited, and the CAT and Gu-POD activities were inhibited under high boron concentrations.

Key words: poplar, boron stress, physiological and biochemical parameter

Table 1

Effect of different concentrations of boron on plant height and fresh mass of two poplar species (mean ± SE, n = 5)"

Poplar species
Concentration (mg·kg-1)
Plant height (cm)
Aboveground fresh mass (g)
Underground fresh mass (g)
Populus russkii
CK 97.5 ± 4.9a 143.5 ± 5.9a 95.3 ± 4.2a 19.5
10 94.5 ± 3.3ab 131.8 ± 5.9b 91.2 ± 4.3ab
20 93.5 ± 2.6ab 129.4 ± 7.0bc 87.3 ± 3.4b
30 90.8 ± 3.8bc 127.1 ± 5.3bc 80.3 ± 0.9c
40 85.5 ± 3.8cd 119.8 ± 1.9cd 68.1 ± 5.2d
50 80.0 ± 3.7d 112.4 ± 4.5d 60.5 ± 3.0e
Populus bolleca
CK 108.3 ± 0.9a 125.9 ± 7.4b 158.5 ± 3.9a 35.4
10 109.3 ± 3.2a 138.8 ± 3.4a 156.4 ± 6.6a
20 105.3 ± 2.5a 117.2 ± 4.5c 141.3 ± 3.5b
30 98.0 ± 2.9b 116.0 ± 3.8c 137.3 ± 4.3b
40 92.0 ± 5.2c 114.9 ± 4.2c 135.8 ± 4.3b
50 88.5 ± 2.6c 101.1 ± 4.0d 115.8 ± 4.5c

Table 2

Statistical significance of the F values (ANOVA) for the effects of poplar species, boron treatments and poplar species × boron treatments"

Poplar species
Boron treatment
Poplar species × boron treatment
株高 Height 97.887*** 37.568*** 1.600NS
地上部鲜质量 Aboveground fresh mass 24.684*** 27.477*** 4.255**
地下部鲜质量 Underground fresh mass 1839.731*** 69.783*** 2.740*
叶绿素a Chl a 16.434*** 160.187*** 14.542***
叶绿素b Chl b 48.117*** 99.303*** 14.330***
总叶绿素 Chl a+b 2.566NS 196.331*** 19.477***
叶绿素a/b Chl a/b 171.615*** 8.297*** 2.817*
过氧化氢酶 CAT 3.360NS 63.215*** 15.106***
过氧化物酶 Gu-POD 1.382NS 94.742*** 4.206**
可溶性蛋白 SP 3.751NS 51.696*** 1.952NS
可溶性糖 SC 518.683*** 41.706*** 0.802NS

Fig. 1

Effect of different concentrations of boron on minimal chlorophyll fluorescence (Fo) , maximal chlorophyll fluorescence (Fm) , maximum quantum yield of PSII photochemistry (Fv/Fm) and quantum yield of non-regulated energy dissipation (Y(NO)) in Populus russkii and P. bolleca."

Fig. 2

Rapid-light-curve of Populus russkii (Pr) and P. bolleca (Pb) under different concentrations of boron. PAR, photosynthetic active radiation; ETR, photosynthetic electron transport rate; Y(II), effective quantum yield of photochemical energy; NPQ, no-photochemical quenching; qP, photochemical quenching."

Fig. 3

Effect of different boron concentration on chlorophyll (Chl) contents in Populus russkii and P. bolleca (mean ± SE, n = 5). Different lower-case letters indicate significant difference (p < 0.05) (Duncan’s multiple range test), standardized form represents P. russkii, inclined form represents P. bolleca."

Fig. 4

Effect of different boron concentration on CAT and Gu-POD activity in leaves of Populus russkii and P. bolleca (mean ± SE, n = 3). Different lower-case letters indicate significant difference (p < 0.05) (Duncan’s multiple range test), standardized form represents P. russkii, inclined form represents P. bolleca."

Fig. 5

Effect of different boron concentration on contents of soluble protein (SP) and soluble carbohydrate (SC) in Populus russkii and P. bolleca (mean ± SE, n = 3). Different lower-case letters indicate significant difference (p < 0.05) (Duncan’s multiple range test), standardized form represents P. russkii, inclined form represents P. bolleca."

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