In a 10-day aquarium experiment, this investigation examines macrophyte restoration in eutrophic Lake Taihu, the physiological effects of different plant biomass levels and of increasing natural cyanobacterial concentrations on a submerged macrophyte, Vallisneria asiatica. Cyanobacterial stress suppressed the superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity of the plant’s leaves and induced the catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD) activities of its roots. The soluble protein content in V. asiatica decreased with an increase in natural cyanobacterial concentrations, whereas the malonaldehyde (MDA) increased significantly at chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations of 222 and 262 μg/L in water. V. asiatica adapted to the stress caused by cyanobacterial concentrations by adjusting its antioxidant defense system to remove the excessive reactive oxygen species when the algal Chl a concentration was >109 μg/L. Additionally, high biomass of V. asiatica (2 222 g FW/m2) can inhibit the reproduction of cyanobacteria more significantly than low biomass (1 111 g FW/m2). High biomass of V. asiatica increased the oxidative stress in an individual plant when the initial Chl a concentration in the water reached 222 and 262 μg/L, as expressed by the increased MDA in leaves, compared with low biomass of V. asiatica. This provides a basis for controlling cyanobacterial concentrations and V. asiatica biomass for the recovery of V. asiatica in eutrophic Lake Taihu.
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