In the present study, the morphological and biochemical characteristics of two pea (Pisum sativum) varieties Arkil and Rachana were evaluated in response to aluminium (Al) stress in soil. Soil was treated with 0.2, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 g/kg of Al. Observations were made on seed germination, seedling growth, pigment, protein and sugar content. Lipid peroxidation (LP) was also measured. Several antioxidant enzymes activities such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), guaicol peroxidase (GPX), ascorbic acid (AsA) and non protein thiol (NPSH) content were investigated against oxidative stress caused by Al. Seed germination and seedling growth of both the varieties remarkably reduced as compared to control. LP was significantly (p<0.05) increased in the seedling of the two varieties, especially in the sensitive one. In the presence of Al, antioxidant enzymes activities markedly (p<0.01) enhanced in both varieties but it increased more prominently in Rachana variety. So, Rachana variety probably accumulated fewer amounts of reactive oxygen species and other toxic phenolic compounds and, consequently grows better under Al toxicity. The results of the present study may help in understanding the mechanism involved against oxidative stress and their possible use in phytoremediation.
Keywords: Aluminium, antioxidant enzymes, ascorbic acid, non-protein thiol and lipid peroxidation.