We investigated individual and combined effects of salinity, soil boron (B), silicon (Si) and salicylic acid (SA) on the activities of major antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, SOD; catalase, CAT and ascorbate peroxidase, APX) and nonenzymatic antioxidants (AA), proline, chlorophyll, anthocyanin, H2O2 concentration, stomatal resistance (SR), lipid peroxidation (MDA), membrane permeability (MP), and the uptake of sodium (Na), chloride (Cl), boron and Si of spinach plants. In general, salinity significantly increased H2O2 and proline concentrations, antioxidant activity, membrane permeability, lipid peroxidation and SR of the spinach plants, indicating that they were stressed, whereas application of B only increased proline concentration. However, plant fresh weights did not decline with either treatment. The application of Si decreased H2O2 and increased the activity of SOD and CAT. The application of SA increased SOD activity. Neither SA nor Si had any effect on the proline concentration, or MP. However, application of Si increased chlorophyll concentration and decreased lipid peroxidation (MDA concentration). Si treatment had no effect on SR. The concentration of B in the tissues, which was strongly increased by B treatment, was decreased by NaCl. As a result of salinity, concentrations of Na+ and Cl- ions were increased in the plant tissues, and application of Si slightly increased these concentrations. These results indicate that exogenous Si application increases stress tolerance of spinach, a plant that is naturally reasonably resistant to combined salinity and B toxicity, by the enhancement of antioxidant mechanisms that reduce membrane damage. Exogenous SA has a less obvious effect, although the levels of salinity and boron stress applied were not sufficient in this experiment to reduce plant fresh weight.
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