Tuesday 5 January 2016

The plant secondary metabolite citral alters water status and prevents seed formation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant Biology
DOI: 10.1111/plb.12418

Based on previous results, which showed that the secondary metabolite citral causes disturbances to plant water status, the present study is focused on demonstrating and detailing these effects on the water-related parameters of Arabidopsis thaliana adult plants, and their impact on plant fitness. Clear evidence of effects on water status and fitness were observed: plants treated with 1200 and 2400 μm citral showed decreased RWC, reduced Ψs, increased Ψw and reduced stomatal opening, even 7 days after the beginning of the experiment. Plant protection signals, such as leaf rolling or increased anthocyanin content, were also detected in these plants. In contrast, 14 days after beginning the treatment, treated plants showed signs of citral-related damage. Moreover, the reproductive success of treated plants was critically compromised, with prematurely withered flowers and no silique or seed development. This effect of citral on fitness of adult plants suggests a promising application of this natural compound in weed management by reducing the weed seed bank in the soil.