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Antioxidants are the first line of defense
against free radical damage. The present investigation showed that anthocyanin,
ascorbic acid, total phenol and total flavonoids contents of pepper plants were
non significant changed by salt stress (Table 6) whereas the  treatment of pepper plants with humic acid in
particular the higher concentration caused considerable increases in these
contents as compared with normal and salt stress conditions. These results are
similar to Ahmed et al. (2011) who found that
anthocyanin content in rosella plants was increased after foliar application of
HA. The antioxidant properties
of anthocyanins can prevent protein degradation, membrane injury, enzyme inactivation, and the disruption of DNA. It is well known that many phenolics are
stress-induced metabolites that accumulate in plant tissues after different
abiotic and biotic stress stimuli. In this respect, Aslam
et al (2016) found that the total phenolic content in spinach plants
was increased after treatment with HA as compared with the controls. These
increases might be due to the active role of humic acid in enhancement of non-enzymatic
antioxidants for ROS scavenging in order to counteract stress-associated oxidative
stress. It has been reported that ascorbic acid as a key non-enzymatic
antioxidant participates in redox regulation in different cell components to
protect plant cells from oxidative stress, it also regulates cell cycle and numerous
fundamental processes of plant growth and development (Athar
et al., 2008). Application of Ca2+
increased the total phenols and flavonoids content under salt stress in pepper
plants. This increase may be due to :(i) Ca2+
decreased the uptake of Na+ (Tobe et al.,
2003) ,(ii) Ca2+  has a role in signaling and helps in up
regulation of respective genes for polyphenols biosynthesis (Xu et al., 2014), and (iii) Ca2+ stimulate the phenylalanine ammonia
lyase (PAL) enzyme activity, an important enzyme in phenylpropanoid
biosynthesis (Kolupaev et al. 2005).

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