Boron stress inhibits beet (Beta vulgaris L.) growth through influencing endogenous hormones and oxidative stress response

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the pleiotropic effects of boron stress on beet (Beta vulgaris L.) growth.

Methods: Beet seedlings were treated with varying concentrations of H3BO3 (0.05, 0.5, 2, and 30 mg/L) for 30 d for evaluation of diverse morphological parameters related to shoot and root growth. Transverse sections of beet leaves were observed under a microscope, and the leaf thickness was measured. Photosynthesis in beet was evaluated by measuring the photosynthetic rate, intercellular carbon dioxide concentration, and chlorophyll content; chloroplast morphology was observed by transmission electron microscopy. In addition, the levels of diverse endogenous hormones, as well as oxidative stress parameters, were also analyzed in beet leaves.

Results: We found that boron accumulated in different beet tissues but was observed mainly in mature leaves, followed by young leaves, mature petioles, young petioles, and roots. Boron stress (boron toxicity, 30 mg/L; boron deficiency, 0.05 mg/L) significantly inhibited beet shoot, root growth, and leaf expansion while promoting leaf thickening. Additionally, the levels of indole-3-acetic acid, gibberellin A3, and zeatin in beet leaves decreased significantly under boron stress, whereas the level of abscisic acid increased. Moreover, the levels of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, catalase, malondialdehyde, and proline in beet leaves increased significantly under boron stress.

Conclusion: Together, our results indicate that boron stress significantly inhibited normal beet growth via the influence of endogenous hormone levels and oxidative stress responses.