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Seed priming with cold plasma improved early growth, flowering, and protection of Cichorium intybus against selenium nanoparticle



AbstractPlasma as a rapidly evolving technology has been succeeded to widely exploit in various industrial fields. We attempt to address the short- and long-time effects of seed priming with cold plasma in Cichorium intybus. The seeds were subjected to plasma (dielectric barrier discharge). The post-reactions of the plasma-primed seedlings were monitored in response to different concentrations (0, 2, and 10 mgl−1) of selenium nanoparticle (nSe). The plasma treatments enhanced seedling early growth in both shoot and roots. Besides, the simultaneous treatments of nSe of 2 mgl−1 and plasma synergistically improved seedling growth (mean = 78%). The plasma treatments mitigated the nSe10-associated phytotoxicity. The plasma and/or nSe treatments induced the enzyme activities of catalase (mean = 35%) and peroxidase (mean = 30%). In a complementary experiment, the long-time effects of plasma priming were monitored in plants grown under soil condition. The seed priming with cold plasma led to significant increases in shoot fresh mass (mean = 32%) and root biomass (mean = 26.8%). Moreover, the plasma-primed seedlings produced higher numbers of flowers (mean = 41.5%) and enhanced flower fresh weights (mean = 24%). The findings underline this hypothesis that exposure to plasma may associate with the activation of plant defense machinery and long-time modification in plant growth and development.