Effect of different time of salt stress on growth and some physiological processes of Avicennia marina seedlings
Growth and physiological characters of Avicennia marina seedlings cultured under different levels of salinity were compared at 45 and 100 days after sowing. Based on the growth and physiological responses, the levels of salinity were grouped into two kinds, moderate (5–30‰) and extreme (40 and 50‰ as well as 0‰). Root and shoot length, leaf area, biomass of different organs, and net photosynthesis rate all showed a similar trend: the seedlings grew better at moderate levels of salinity but were adversely affected by extreme levels. Longer exposure (100 days) to salinity markedly enhanced the difference between the effects of the two levels on growth. By 45th day, the cotyledons had withered and fallen off. The concentration of ions (K+, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl−) and ash content of the cotyledons were determined before sowing and 45 days later. Ion concentrations and ash content of cotyledons were markedly lower at 45 days—lower than the initial levels—in seedlings irrigated with water at 0‰ salinity level. This suggested that the poor growth of these seedlings at 100 days may be due to lack of ions provided by the cotyledons. The high ion concentrations in the cotyledons grown at moderate salinity levels suggest that these organs may function as ion sinks at this stage, reducing the concentration of ions and consequent toxicity caused by excessive concentrations. Root biomass was higher than shoot biomass 45 days after sowing, whereas after 100 days, shoot biomass was higher. At the early stage of growth (45 days), the rate of photosynthesis at lower levels of salinity (0–30‰) was limited mainly by stomatal closure but at higher levels of salinity (40–50‰), other factors came into play. Later, at 100 days, the causes of reduced photosynthetic rate were other than stomatal closure at both low and high levels of salinity. This indicates that photosynthesis is affected by prolonged exposure to salt stress—including that caused by 0‰ salinity, as shown by poor growth of the seedlings.
KeywordsPhotosynthesis Salt Stress Stomatal Conductance Salinity Level Moderate Salinity
The project was jointly supported by Program for Innovative Research Team in Science and Technology in Fujian Province University, Natural Science Fund of China (No. 30200031) and the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET). The authors thank Prof. W. J. Cram of University of Newcastle and Dr. Ravi Kumer for their kind help on improving the language of this paper. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which improved the manuscript significantly. The authors appreciate Xie Zhong, Lin Xi and Shi Fushan for assistance in seedling cultivation and experimental analysis. All the experiments comply with the current laws of China.
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