Salinity stress has detrimental effects on various aspects of plant development. However, our understanding of strategies to mitigate these effects in crop plants remains limited. Recent research has shed light on the potential of sodium acetate as a mitigating component against salinity stress in several plant species. Here, we show the role of acetate sodium in counteracting the adverse effects on oat (Avena sativa) plants subjected to NaCl-induced salinity stress, including its impact on plant morphology, photosynthetic parameters, and gene expression related to photosynthesis and antioxidant capacity, ultimately leading to osmoprotection. The five-week experiment involved subjecting oat plants to four different conditions: water, salt (NaCl), sodium acetate, and a combination of salt and sodium acetate. The presence of NaCl significantly inhibited plant growth and root elongation, disrupted chlorophylls and carotenoids content, impaired chlorophyll fluorescence, and down-regulated genes associated with the plant antioxidant defense system. Furthermore, our findings reveal that when stressed plants were treated with sodium acetate, it partially reversed these adverse effects across all analyzed parameters. This reversal was particularly evident in the increased content of proline, thereby ensuring osmoprotection for oat plants, even under stressful conditions. These results provide compelling evidence regarding the positive impact of sodium acetate on various plant development parameters, with a particular focus on the enhancement of photosynthetic activity.
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