Zinc and copper enhance cucumber tolerance to fusaric acid by mediating its distribution and toxicity and modifying the antioxidant system

Ruirui Wang, Jian Huang, Aichen Liang, Ying Wang, Luis Alejandro Jose Mur, Min Wang*, Shiwei Guo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Fusaric acid (FA), the fungal toxin produced by Fusarium oxysporum, plays a predominant role in the virulence and symptom development of Fusarium wilt disease. As mineral nutrients can be protective agents against Fusarium wilt, hydroponic experiments employing zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) followed by FA treatment were conducted in a glasshouse. FA exhibited strong phytotoxicity on cucumber plants, which was reversed by the addition of Zn or Cu. Thus, Zn or Cu dramatically reduced the wilt index, alleviated the leaf or root cell membrane injury and mitigated against the FA inhibition of plant growth and photosynthesis. Cucumber plants grown with Zn exhibited decreased FA transportation to shoots and a 17% increase in toxicity mitigation and showed minimal hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation level with the increased of antioxidant enzymes activity in both roots and leaves. Cucumber grown with additional Cu absorbed less FA but showed more toxicity mitigation at 20% compared to with additional Zn and exhibited decreased hydrogen peroxide level and increased antioxidant enzymes activity. Thus, adding Zn or Cu can decrease the toxicity of the FA by affecting the absorption or transportation of the FA in plants and mitigate toxicity possibly through chelation. Zn and Cu modify the antioxidant system to scavenge hydrogen peroxide for suppressing FA induction of oxidative damage. Our experiments could provide a theoretical basis for the direct application of micro-fertilizer as protective agents in farming.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3370
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2020


  • Copper
  • Distribution
  • Fusaric acid
  • Mitigation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Zinc
  • Plant Diseases/microbiology
  • Photosynthesis/drug effects
  • Hydrogen Peroxide/metabolism
  • Copper/metabolism
  • Fusaric Acid/metabolism
  • Plant Roots/drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress/drug effects
  • Plant Leaves/drug effects
  • Plant Stems/drug effects
  • Antioxidants/metabolism
  • Fusarium/metabolism
  • Cucumis sativus/drug effects
  • Mycotoxins/metabolism
  • Zinc/metabolism


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