Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Tolerance of Sesbania virgata plants to flooding

Ilisandra Zanandrea A , José D. Alves B E , Sidnei Deuner C , Patrícia de F. P. Goulart D , Paôla de C. Henrique B and Neidiquele M. Silveira B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Embrapa Clima Temperado, 96001-970, Pelotas, RS, Brasil.

B Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Lavras, 37200-000, Lavras, MG, Brasil.

C Departamento de Botânica, Universidade Federal Pelotas, 96010-900, Pelotas, RS, Brasil.

D Coordenadoria de Pesquisa, Centro Universitário de Lavras, 37200-000, Lavras – MG, Brasil.

E Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Botany 57(8) 661-669
Submitted: 26 August 2009  Accepted: 19 November 2009   Published: 8 February 2010


Sesbania virgata (Cav.) Pers. is a bush, pioneer and occurs naturally in Brazil. It belongs to the Fabaceae family and it is indicated for recovery of degraded areas because of its rusticity and capacity to tolerate flooding. The present research was carried out to investigate the ability of S. virgata plants to adapt to flooding conditions. Plants containing six expanded leaves were placed in masonry tanks and were subjected to the following conditions: control (well watered), soil-waterlogging (water to the setup level of 1 cm above the soil surface – roots and parts of the stems flooded) and complete submergence (whole plant flooded). The evaluations were conducted on the day of the stress induction and after 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49 and 56 days of the treatment. After 15 days of return to normoxic environment, plant survival was assessed. Growth (height, dry mass of shoots and roots), vigour, carbohydrate content and the activity of enzymes involved in anaerobic metabolism (lactate dehydrogenase, pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase) were also evaluated. Our results suggested that sesbania plants are tolerant to flooding, because they can survive being submerged for 56 days. The reasons for this tolerance include the accumulation and use of carbohydrates in the leaves and roots, maintenance of growth and the activation of anaerobic metabolism, particularly in steps catalysed by the enzymes pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase.


This study was supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and Foundation for Research Support of Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG).


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