Single-dose β-aminobutyric acid treatment modifies tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) leaf acclimation to consecutive UV-B treatment
β-Aminobutyric acid (BABA) pre-treatment has been shown to alter both biotic and abiotic stress responses. The present study extends this observation to acclimative UV-B-response, which has not been explored in this context so far. A single soil application of 300 ppm BABA modified the non-enzymatic antioxidant capacities and the leaf hydrogen peroxide levels in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) leaves in response to a 9-day treatment with 5.4 kJ m−2 d−1 biologically effective supplementary UV-B radiation in a model experiment that was performed in a growth chamber. BABA decreased leaf hydrogen peroxide levels both as a single factor and in combination with UV-B, but neither BABA nor UV-B affected leaf photochemistry significantly. The total antioxidant capacities were increased by either BABA or UV-B, and this response was additive in BABA pre-treated leaves. These results together with the observed changes in hydroxyl radical neutralising ability and non-enzymatic hydrogen peroxide antioxidant capacities show that BABA pre-treatment (i) has a long-term effect on leaf antioxidants even in the absence of other factors and (ii) modifies acclimative readjustment of prooxidant-antioxidant balance in response to UV-B. BABA-inducible antioxidants do not include phenolic compounds as a UV-B-induced increase in the adaxial leaf flavonoid index and total leaf extract UV absorption were unaffected by BABA.