Production and antioxidative metabolism in bell pepper grown with saline water in hydroponic system

ABSTRACT This study aimed to evaluate the effect of salt stress on production and antioxidative defense metabolism of two bell pepper cultivars (Capsicum annuum L.) grown hydroponically. The experimental design was in randomized blocks, with treatments arranged in a 5 x 2 factorial scheme with five replicates. The treatments consisted of five salinity levels of the nutrient solution (2.0, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5 and 6.5 dS m-1) with two bell pepper cultivars, ‘Bruno’ and ‘Rúbia’. Biomass and yield were reduced with increasing salinity. The contents of chlorophyll a, b and total decreased with increasing salinity. There was an increase in proline content and activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX), showing the activation of the antioxidant defense mechanism. The higher yield in the cv. ‘Rúbia’, as well as the greater activity of the APX and the lower levels of chlorophyll content, reflect the best acclimatization of this cultivar to saline stress. The estimated yield of the cv. ‘Rúbia’, 39.9 t ha-1 when grown with ECs of up to 3.5 dS m-1, indicates the feasibility of its commercial cultivation in hydroponic conditions.