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Seed treatment with glycine betaine enhances tolerance of cotton to chilling stress

  • C. Cheng (a1) (a2), L. M. Pei (a3), T. T. Yin (a4) and K. W. Zhang (a1) (a2)


Chilling injury is an important natural stress that can threaten cotton production, especially at the sowing and seedling stages in early spring. It is therefore important for cotton production to improve chilling tolerance at these stages. The current work examines the potential for glycine betaine (GB) treatment of seeds to increase the chilling tolerance of cotton at the seedling stage. Germination under cold stress was increased significantly by GB treatment. Under low temperature, the leaves of seedlings from treated seeds exhibited a higher net photosynthetic rate (PN), higher antioxidant enzyme activity including superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase and catalase, lower hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content and less damage to the cell membrane. Enzyme activity was correlated negatively with H2O2 content and degree of damage to the cell membrane but correlated positively with GB content. The experimental results suggested that although GB was only used to treat cotton seed, the beneficial effect caused by the preliminary treatment of GB could play a significant role during germination that persisted to at least the four-leaf seedling stage. Therefore, it is crucial that this method is employed in agricultural production to improve chilling resistance in the seedling stage by soaking the seeds in GB.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: K. W. Zhang, E-mail:


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