Date: 15 Jul 2010

Structural and Functional Adaptations in Plants for Salinity Tolerance

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Salt tolerance in plants is a multifarious phenomenon involving a variety of changes at molecular, organelle, cellular, tissue as well as whole plant level. In addition, salt tolerant plants show a range of adaptations not only in morphological or structural features but also in metabolic and physiological processes that enable them to survive under extreme saline environments. Morpho–anatomical adaptations include xeromorphic characteristics like thick epidermis and sclerenchyma, well developed bulliform cells, increased density of trichomes and increased moisture retaining capacity by increasing cell size and vacuolar volume. Development of excretory structures like vesicular hairs and salt glands is another major structural adaptation and very crucial for salt tolerance. Physiological adaptations include restricted toxic ion uptake, increased succulence, osmotic adjustment and exclusion of toxic Na+ and Cl.