Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 26914

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Guest Editor
School of Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Interests: redox signaling; reactive oxygen species; hydrogen sulfide; hydrogen gas; nitric oxide
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Dear Colleagues,

Molecular hydrogen (hydrogen gas; H2), is gaining prominence in the scientific literature as well as the popular media. Early pre-clinical and clinical studies suggest the use of H2 treatment for a wide range of human diseases, from COVID-19 to various neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, its biological activity also appears to have therapeutic and regulatory effects in plants. Accordingly, it has been suggested to be useful in large-scale agricultural settings.

Hydrogen gas has effects on a range of physiological events in plants. It has been shown to have effects on seed germination, plant growth, and development. It has also been found to be involved in plant stress responses and to be protective against pathological abiotic stress challenges. Similarly, it also has beneficial effects during the post-harvest storage of crops. Therefore, its use in the agricultural setting has great potential as it appears to be safe, with no toxicity or harm to the environment.

One of the conundrums of the use of hydrogen gas is how it induces these observed effects in plants and plant cells. It is difficult to envisage how it works based on a classical receptor mechanism. There is some evidence that it may act as a direct antioxidant, especially by scavenging hydroxyl radicals, or via enhancing the plant’s innate antioxidant system as a biological signaling molecule. It has also been reported to exert some effects through action on heme oxygenase, cross-talk with other signaling molecules, and regulating the expression of various genes. However, how molecular hydrogen fits into, and integrates with, other signaling pathways is not clearly understood. Future work is needed to elucidate the mechanism(s) and significance of the interaction of H2 with these and other cellular systems.

This Special Issue aims to bring together a body of papers that focus on the current state-of-play of the molecular biology and possible uses of molecular hydrogen with plants. It is hoped that this Special Issue will highlight the future work which may be undertaken in this field and help to encourage researchers to investigate this exciting field further.

Prof. Dr. John Hancock
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Antioxidants
  • Heme oxygenase
  • Hydrogenase
  • Hydrogen gas
  • Hydrogen-rich water (HRW)
  • Molecular hydrogen
  • Radical scavenging
  • Reactive nitrogen species (RNS)
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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6 pages, 242 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial for Special Issue: “Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants”
by John T. Hancock
Plants 2022, 11(15), 2047; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11152047 - 5 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1281
Abstract
Molecular hydrogen (H2) is an extremely small molecule, which is relatively insoluble in water and relatively inert [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)

Research

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15 pages, 2641 KiB  
Article
Degradation of Carbendazim by Molecular Hydrogen on Leaf Models
by Tong Zhang, Yueqiao Wang, Zhushan Zhao, Sheng Xu and Wenbiao Shen
Plants 2022, 11(5), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11050621 - 25 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2309
Abstract
Although molecular hydrogen can alleviate herbicide paraquat and Fusarium mycotoxins toxicity in plants and animals, whether or how molecular hydrogen influences pesticide residues in plants is not clear. Here, pot experiments in greenhouse revealed that degradation of carbendazim (a benzimidazole pesticide) in leaves [...] Read more.
Although molecular hydrogen can alleviate herbicide paraquat and Fusarium mycotoxins toxicity in plants and animals, whether or how molecular hydrogen influences pesticide residues in plants is not clear. Here, pot experiments in greenhouse revealed that degradation of carbendazim (a benzimidazole pesticide) in leaves could be positively stimulated by molecular hydrogen, either exogenously applied or with genetic manipulation. Pharmacological and genetic increased hydrogen gas could increase glutathione metabolism and thereafter carbendazim degradation, both of which were abolished by the removal of endogenous glutathione with its synthetic inhibitor, in both tomato and in transgenic Arabidopsis when overexpressing the hydrogenase 1 gene from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Importantly, the antifungal effect of carbendazim in tomato plants was not obviously altered regardless of molecular hydrogen addition. The contribution of glutathione-related detoxification mechanism achieved by molecular hydrogen was confirmed. Our results might not only illustrate a previously undescribed function of molecular hydrogen in plants, but also provide an environmental-friendly approach for the effective elimination or reduction of pesticides residues in crops when grown in pesticides-overused environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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15 pages, 4336 KiB  
Article
Integrated Metabolomic and Transcriptomic Analyses to Understand the Effects of Hydrogen Water on the Roots of Ficus hirta Vahl
by Jiqing Zeng and Hui Yu
Plants 2022, 11(5), 602; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11050602 - 24 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2535
Abstract
Wuzhimaotao (Ficus hirta Vahl) is an important medicinal and edible plant in China. The extract from the roots of Ficus hirta Vahl contains phenylpropanoid compounds, such as coumarins and flavonoids, which are the main active components of this Chinese herbal medicine. [...] Read more.
Wuzhimaotao (Ficus hirta Vahl) is an important medicinal and edible plant in China. The extract from the roots of Ficus hirta Vahl contains phenylpropanoid compounds, such as coumarins and flavonoids, which are the main active components of this Chinese herbal medicine. In this study, we analyzed the transcriptomic and metabolomic data of the hydrogen-water-treated roots of Ficus hirta Vahl and a control group. The results showed that many genes and metabolites were regulated in the roots of Ficus hirta Vahl that were treated with hydrogen water. Compared with the control group, 173 genes were downregulated and 138 genes were upregulated in the hydrogen-rich water treatment group. Differential metabolite analysis through LC-MS showed that 168 and 109 metabolites had significant differences in positive and negative ion mode, respectively. In the upregulated metabolites, the main active components of Wuzhimaotao, such as the phenylpropane compounds naringin, bergaptol, hesperidin, and benzofuran, were found. Integrated transcriptomic and metabolomic data analysis showed that four and one of the most relevant pathways were over enriched in positive and negative ion mode, respectively. In the relationship between metabolites and DEGs, phenylpropanoid biosynthesis and metabolism play an important role. This indicates that phenylpropanoid biosynthesis and metabolism may be the main metabolic pathways regulated by hydrogen water. Our transcriptome analysis showed that most of the DEGs with |log2FC| ≥ 1 are transcription factor genes, and most of them are related to plant hormone signal transduction, stress resistance, and secondary metabolism, mainly phenylpropanoid biosynthesis and metabolism. This study provides important evidence and clues for revealing the botanical effect mechanism of hydrogen and a theoretical basis for the application of hydrogen agriculture in the cultivation of Chinese herbal medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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16 pages, 7835 KiB  
Article
Molecular Hydrogen Increases Quantitative and Qualitative Traits of Rice Grain in Field Trials
by Pengfei Cheng, Jun Wang, Zhushan Zhao, Lingshuai Kong, Wang Lou, Tong Zhang, Dedao Jing, Julong Yu, Zhaolin Shu, Liqin Huang, Wenjiao Zhu, Qing Yang and Wenbiao Shen
Plants 2021, 10(11), 2331; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10112331 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3710
Abstract
How to use environmentally friendly technology to enhance rice field and grain quality is a challenge for the scientific community. Here, we showed that the application of molecular hydrogen in the form of hydrogen nanobubble water could increase the length, width, and thickness [...] Read more.
How to use environmentally friendly technology to enhance rice field and grain quality is a challenge for the scientific community. Here, we showed that the application of molecular hydrogen in the form of hydrogen nanobubble water could increase the length, width, and thickness of brown/rough rice and white rice, as well as 1000-grain weight, compared to the irrigation with ditch water. The above results were well matched with the transcriptional profiles of representative genes related to high yield, including up-regulation of heterotrimeric G protein β-subunit gene (RGB1) for cellular proliferation, Grain size 5 (GS5) for grain width, Small grain 1 (SMG1) for grain length and width, Grain weight 8 (GW8) for grain width and weight, and down-regulation of negatively correlated gene Grain size 3 (GS3) for grain length. Meanwhile, although total starch content in white rice is not altered by HNW, the content of amylose was decreased by 31.6%, which was parallel to the changes in the transcripts of the amylose metabolism genes. In particular, cadmium accumulation in white rice was significantly reduced, reaching 52% of the control group. This phenomenon was correlated well with the differential expression of transporter genes responsible for Cd entering plants, including down-regulated Natural resistance-associated macrophage protein (Nramp5), Heavy metal transporting ATPase (HMA2 and HMA3), and Iron-regulated transporters (IRT1), and for decreasing Cd accumulation in grain, including down-regulated Low cadmium (LCD). This study clearly showed that the application of molecular hydrogen might be used as an effective approach to increase field and grain quality of rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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13 pages, 3354 KiB  
Article
The Involvement of Glucose in Hydrogen Gas-Medicated Adventitious Rooting in Cucumber
by Zongxi Zhao, Changxia Li, Huwei Liu, Jingjing Yang, Panpan Huang and Weibiao Liao
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1937; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091937 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2080
Abstract
Hydrogen gas (H2) and glucose (Glc) have been reported as novel antioxidants and signal molecules involved in multiple biological processes in plants. However, the physiological roles and relationships of H2 and Glc in adventitious rooting are less clear. Here, we [...] Read more.
Hydrogen gas (H2) and glucose (Glc) have been reported as novel antioxidants and signal molecules involved in multiple biological processes in plants. However, the physiological roles and relationships of H2 and Glc in adventitious rooting are less clear. Here, we showed that the effects of different concentrations Glc (0, 0.01, 0.05, 0.10, 0.50 and 1.00 mM) on adventitious rooting in cucumber were dose-dependent, with a maximal biological response at 0.10 mM. While, the positive roles of hydrogen rich water (HRW, a H2 donor)-regulated adventitious rooting were blocked by a specific Glc inhibitor glucosamine (GlcN), suggesting that Glc might be responsible for H2-regulated adventitious root development. HRW increased glucose, sucrose, starch and total sugar contents. Glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), fructose-6-phosphate (F6P) and glucose-1-phosphate (G1P) contents were also increased by HRW. Meanwhile, the activities of sucrose-related enzymes incorporating sucrose synthase (SS) and sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) and glucose-related enzymes including hexokinase (HK), pyruvate kinase (PK) and adenosine 5′-diphosphate pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) were increased by HRW. Moreover, HRW upregulated the expression levels of sucrose or glucose metabolism-related genes including CsSuSy1, CsSuSy6, CsHK1, CsHK3, CsUDP1, CsUDP1-like, CsG6P1 and CsG6P1-like. However, these positive roles were all inhibited by GlcN. Together, H2 might regulate adventitious rooting by promoting glucose metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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11 pages, 1992 KiB  
Article
Hydrogen Nanobubble Water Delays Petal Senescence and Prolongs the Vase Life of Cut Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) Flowers
by Longna Li, Qianlan Yin, Tong Zhang, Pengfei Cheng, Sheng Xu and Wenbiao Shen
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081662 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3808
Abstract
The short vase life of cut flowers limits their commercial value. To ameliorate this practical problem, this study investigated the effect of hydrogen nanobubble water (HNW) on delaying senescence of cut carnation flowers (Dianthuscaryophyllus L.). It was observed that HNW had [...] Read more.
The short vase life of cut flowers limits their commercial value. To ameliorate this practical problem, this study investigated the effect of hydrogen nanobubble water (HNW) on delaying senescence of cut carnation flowers (Dianthuscaryophyllus L.). It was observed that HNW had properties of higher concentration and residence time for the dissolved hydrogen gas in comparison with conventional hydrogen-rich water (HRW). Meanwhile, application of 5% HNW significantly prolonged the vase life of cut carnation flowers compared with distilled water, other doses of HNW (including 1%, 10%, and 50%), and 10% HRW, which corresponded with the alleviation of fresh weight and water content loss, increased electrolyte leakage, oxidative damage, and cell death in petals. Further study showed that the increasing trend with respect to the activities of nucleases (including DNase and RNase) and protease during vase life period was inhibited by 5% HNW. The results indicated that HNW delayed petal senescence of cut carnation flowers through reducing reactive oxygen species accumulation and initial activities of senescence-associated enzymes. These findings may provide a basic framework for the application of HNW for postharvest preservation of agricultural products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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14 pages, 2775 KiB  
Article
Molecular Hydrogen Maintains the Storage Quality of Chinese Chive through Improving Antioxidant Capacity
by Ke Jiang, Yong Kuang, Liying Feng, Yuhao Liu, Shu Wang, Hongmei Du and Wenbiao Shen
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1095; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061095 - 29 May 2021
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3142
Abstract
Chinese chive usually becomes decayed after a short storage time, which was closely observed with the redox imbalance. To cope with this practical problem, in this report, molecular hydrogen (H2) was used to evaluate its influence in maintaining storage quality of [...] Read more.
Chinese chive usually becomes decayed after a short storage time, which was closely observed with the redox imbalance. To cope with this practical problem, in this report, molecular hydrogen (H2) was used to evaluate its influence in maintaining storage quality of Chinese chive, and the changes in antioxidant capacity were also analyzed. Chives were treated with 1%, 2%, or 3% H2, and with air as the control, and then were stored at 4 ± 1 °C. We observed that, compared with other treatment groups, the application of 3% H2 could significantly prolong the shelf life of Chinese chive, which was also confirmed by the obvious mitigation of decreased decay index, the loss ratio of weight, and the reduction in soluble protein content. Meanwhile, the decreasing tendency in total phenolic, flavonoid, and vitamin C contents was obviously impaired or slowed down by H2. Results of antioxidant capacity revealed that the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was differentially alleviated, which positively matched with 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging activity and the improved activities of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), guaiacol peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Above results clearly suggest that postharvest molecular hydrogen application might be a potential useful approach to improve the storage quality of Chinese chive, which is partially achieved through the alleviation of oxidative damage happening during the storage periods. These findings also provide potential theoretical and practical significance for transportation and consumption of perishable vegetables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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Review

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9 pages, 419 KiB  
Review
Is It a Challenge to Use Molecular Hydrogen for Extending Flower Vase Life?
by Toan Khac Nguyen and Jin Hee Lim
Plants 2022, 11(10), 1277; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11101277 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2151
Abstract
Currently, molecular hydrogen treatment has the potential to manage the Corona Virus disease (COVID-19) and pandemic based on its anti-inflammatory, apoptosis-resistance, antioxidant, and hormone-regulating properties. Antioxidant properties are beneficial in both animal and human diseases. In agricultural sciences, molecular hydrogen is used to [...] Read more.
Currently, molecular hydrogen treatment has the potential to manage the Corona Virus disease (COVID-19) and pandemic based on its anti-inflammatory, apoptosis-resistance, antioxidant, and hormone-regulating properties. Antioxidant properties are beneficial in both animal and human diseases. In agricultural sciences, molecular hydrogen is used to postpone postharvest ripening and senescence in fruits. However, studies on flower senescence are limited to the application of hydrogen molecules during floral preharvest and postharvest. Fortunately, improved tools involving molecular hydrogen can potentially improve postharvest products and storage. We also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of molecular hydrogen in floral preharvest and postharvest. This review provides an overview of molecular hydrogen solutions for floral preservative storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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12 pages, 721 KiB  
Review
Downstream Signalling from Molecular Hydrogen
by John T. Hancock and Grace Russell
Plants 2021, 10(2), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020367 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3678
Abstract
Molecular hydrogen (H2) is now considered part of the suite of small molecules that can control cellular activity. As such, H2 has been suggested to be used in the therapy of diseases in humans and in plant science to enhance [...] Read more.
Molecular hydrogen (H2) is now considered part of the suite of small molecules that can control cellular activity. As such, H2 has been suggested to be used in the therapy of diseases in humans and in plant science to enhance the growth and productivity of plants. Treatments of plants may involve the creation of hydrogen-rich water (HRW), which can then be applied to the foliage or roots systems of the plants. However, the molecular action of H2 remains elusive. It has been suggested that the presence of H2 may act as an antioxidant or on the antioxidant capacity of cells, perhaps through the scavenging of hydroxyl radicals. H2 may act through influencing heme oxygenase activity or through the interaction with reactive nitrogen species. However, controversy exists around all the mechanisms suggested. Here, the downstream mechanisms in which H2 may be involved are critically reviewed, with a particular emphasis on the H2 mitigation of stress responses. Hopefully, this review will provide insight that may inform future research in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants)
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