Arundo donax L. is an invasive species that has been recently employed for biomass production due to its well-known ability to colonize harsh environment. Based on previous observations, the present study investigated the potential role of phenylpropanoids and class III peroxidases to confer adaptation through biochemical and transcriptomic analysis in A. donax after Na+ and P excess supply, both in single stress and in combination, and after growth at low P level. The levels of hydrogen peroxide, flavonoids (i.e., quercetin, apigenin and kaempferol derivatives) and the activity of class III peroxidases, as well as the expression of several genes encoding for their enzymes involved in their biosynthesis, increased when Na+ was supplied in combination with P. These results suggest that those biomolecules are involved in the response of A. donax, to the presence of +Na and P in the soil. Moreover, even though at the sampling time no significant accumulation of lignin has been determined, the trend of accumulation of such metabolite and most of all the increase of several transcripts involved in its synthesis was found. This work for the first time indicates the need for further investigation devoted to elucidating whether the strengthening of cell walls via lignin synthesis is one of the mechanisms used by A. donax to adapt to harsh environments.
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