Chilling stress and oxygen metabolizing enzymes in Zea mays and Zea diploperennis


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Abstract. The activities of five active‐oxygen scavenging enzymes were compared for cold‐lability and three were compared for chilling induction in two Zea genotypes of contrasting susceptibility to photoinhibition during chilling. Activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD, EC, ascorbate peroxidase (APX, EC, monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR, EC, dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR, EC, and glutathione reductase (GTR, EC in leaf extracts from plants grown without chilling stress were assayed at 19°C and 5°C. Enzymes from the chilling‐susceptible Z. Mays cv. LG11 had lower specific activities at 5°C than did enzymes from the chilling‐tolerant Z. diploperennis, except for MDHAR where no significant differences were observed. The activities of SOD and APX from Z. diploperennis were double those of Z. mays at both assay temperatures. Monodehydroa‐scrobate reductase and glutathione reductase activities in both species were reduced by 63–78% at a 5°C assay temperature. The dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR) showed the greatest low‐temperature lability losing 96% (Z. diploperennis) and 100% (Z. mays) of its activity at 5°C. To examine possible chilling‐induced changes in levels of enzyme activity, plants of both Zea genotypes were transferred to growth chambers at 10°C at moderate light intensities. Glutathione reductase activity was found to increase within 24h in Z. diploperennis, but it decreased slightly in Z. mays. MDHAR activity decreased by 50% in Z. diploperennis but showed only a transient increase in activity in Z. mays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Zea diploperennis–Zea mays.
  • active oxygen scavenging
  • chilling inhibition
  • photoinhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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