Sulfite oxidase activity level determines the sulfite toxicity effect in leaves and fruits of tomato plants

Umanath Sharma, Aizat Bekturova, Yvonne Ventura, Moshe Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Increasing plant tolerance to sulfites/SO2 can lead to the development of tolerant crops to biotic and abiotic stresses. Plant sulfite oxidase (SO) is a molybdo-enzyme that oxidizes excess SO2/sulfite into non-toxic sulfate. The effect of toxic sulfite on leaves and fruits was studied in tomato plants with different SO expression: wild-type, SO overexpression (OE) and SO RNA interference (Ri). Sulfite-dipped ripe-fruits and sulfite treated leaf discs of Ri plants impaired in SO activity were more susceptible, whereas OE plants were more resistant, as revealed by remaining chlorophyll and tissue damage levels. Application of molybdenum further enhanced the tolerance of leaf discs to sulfite by enhancing SO activity in OE lines, but not in wild-type or Ri plants. Notably, incubation with tungsten, the molybdenum antagonist, overturned the effect of molybdenum spray in OE plants, revealed by remaining chlorophyll content and SO activity. The results indicate that SO in tomato leaves and ripe fruits determines the resistance to sulfite and the application of molybdenum enhances sulfite resistance in OE plants by increasing SO activity. Overall, the results suggest that SO overexpression can be employed, with or without molybdenum application, for developing fruit and vegetable crops tolerant to sulfite/SO2 containing pre- and postharvest treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberagronomy10050694
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2020


  • Molybdenum
  • SO expression
  • Sulfite oxidase
  • Sulfite toxicity
  • Tomato
  • Tungsten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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