, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp 395-404
Date: 25 Nov 2010

In vitro assay of native Iranian almond species (Prunus L. spp.) for drought tolerance

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Eight native Iranian almond species from three sections, ‘Euamygdalus’ (Prunus communis; Prunus eleagnifolia and Prunus orientalis); ‘Lycioides’ (Prunus lycioides and Prunus reuteri) and ‘Spartioides’ (Prunus arabica, Prunus glauca and Prunus scoparia) were in vitro screened for drought tolerance using sorbitol and polyethylene glycol (PEG) as an osmoticum. Different levels of water stress were induced using five concentrations of either sorbitol or polyethylene glycol in Woody Plant Medium (WPM). Water potential of various media ranged from −0.80 to −2.05 MPa and water stress in culture medium adversely affected plantlet growth. Wild species from ‘Spartioides’ were less affected than ‘Lycioides’ and ‘Euamygdalus’. At the same level of water potential, sorbitol had lower adverse effects than PEG; the latter being severe. Prunus × sorbitol and Prunus × PEG interactions were significant. At 0.2 M sorbitol and 0.003 M PEG, ‘Spartioides’ produced significantly more roots with higher total root length and root volume, as well as root-dry weight than those of ‘Lycioides’ and ‘Euamygdalus.’ It is concluded that in vitro screening of native Iranian almond species under specific and limited water-stress conditions may provide a system for effectively differentiating the wild species of almond for their expected root mass production under field conditions.