Ascorbic acid of cowpea seeds under saline stress

Abstract: Salinity adversely affects plant growth and metabolism by triggering increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Ascorbic acid (AsA) is known to protect organelles and cells against ROS by preventing accumulation. The objective of this study was to study the effects of AsA on cowpea beans under saline stress. Cowpea seeds of the cultivars (BRS Marataoã and Setentão) were conditioned at concentrations of 0.0 (control); 0.25; 0.50; 0.75 and 1.00 mM AsA and seeded on paper towels, moistened at saline levels of 0.0 (control); 1.5; 3.0; 4.5; 6.0 and 7.5 dS.m-1, packed in a bench germinator at 25 °C. The statistical design adopted was a completely randomized 2 × 5 × 6 factorial design (cultivar x ascorbic acid x saline levels) with four replicates of 50 seeds per treatment. The analyzed variables were percentage of germination, first germination count, germination speed index, shoot and root length, total seedling dry weight, and leaf and root electrolyte leakage. Ascorbic acid at concentrations of 0.50 mM for BRS Marataoã and 0.75 mM for the Setentão, enabled the development of more vigorous seedlings and the reduction of membrane damage caused by oxidative stress both in the absence of salt and at the saline levels tested, including the highest one.