Regulation of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants contributes to salt tolerance in hitherto unknown upland farmer rice varieties.
Salt tolerance potential of the three upland farmer varieties, koduvelliyan, mullankayama and marathondi was evaluated by comparing with the released salt-tolerant pokkali variety, vytilla-2. The salt tolerance exhibited by the upland varieties was identical with the salt tolerant variety. The superoxide (O2-) content in the upland varieties was lower; however, the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content increased with the salt concentration. The lesser malondialdehyde (MDA) content in the koduvelliyan variety was equivalent to the vytilla-2 and slight increase was observed in mullankayama and marathondi. The ascorbate (AsA) content in the upland varieties was comparable to vytilla-2 and upon exposure to increased concentration of NaCl, the AsA level reduced in all the treatments. Reduced glutathione (GSH) content was uniform in all the varieties up to a concentration of 100mM NaCl, however, in 125-150mM NaCl, mullankayama showed a pronounced increase in GSH content. Under salt stress, due to the formation of O2-, the oxidation of GSH was higher, maintaining a stable GSH/GSSG ratio. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activity of the upland varieties was higher than vytilla-2 up to 100mM NaCl, however, in 125-150mM NaCl the SOD activity increased slightly and the CAT activity decreased. Ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity increased in upland varieties up to 125mM NaCl, and in 150mM NaCl, maintained a steady level in all the varieties. Glutathione reductase (GR) activity increased proportionate with NaCl concentration; with highest activity in all the upland varieties. Monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR) activity was uniform in all the varieties up to 100mM NaCl, however, in 125 and 150mM NaCl, vytilla-2 showed higher MDHAR activity. Dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR) activity was lesser in upland varieties under salt stress compared to vytilla-2. The GSH/GSSG ratio decreased in marathondi and koduvelliyan varieties with the increase in NaCl concentration, however, in mullankayama and vytilla-2, the GSH/GSSG ratio was higher. The membrane stability index of all the varieties was uniform in all the concentrations of NaCl used, except marathondi. The Na+ content in all the varieties increased in relation to NaCl concentration and the K+ efflux was higher suggesting a higher Na+/K+ ratio, with increased NaCl concentration.