, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 79–86 | Cite as

Comparative effects of salt-stress and alkali-stress on the growth, photosynthesis, solute accumulation, and ion balance of barley plants

  • C.-W. Yang
  • H.-H. Xu
  • L.-L. Wang
  • J. Liu
  • D.-C. ShiEmail author
  • D.-L. Wang
Original Papers


We compared the effects of salt-stresses (SS, 1: 1 molar ratio of NaCl to Na2SO4) and alkali-stresses (AS, 1: 1 molar ratio of NaHCO3 to Na2CO3) on the growth, photosynthesis, solute accumulation, and ion balance of barley seedlings, to elucidate the mechanism of AS (high-pH) damage to plants and the physiological adaptive mechanism of plants to AS. The effects of SS on the water content, root system activity, membrane permeability, and the content of photosynthetic pigments were much less than those of AS. However, AS damaged root function, photosynthetic pigments, and the membrane system, led to the severe reductions in water content, root system activity, content of photosynthetic pigments, and net photosynthetic rate, and a sharp increase in electrolyte leakage rate. Moreover, with salinity higher than 60 mM, Na+ content increased slowly under SS and sharply under AS. This indicates that high-pH caused by AS might interfere with control of Na+ uptake in roots and increase intracellular Na+ to a toxic level, which may be the main cause of some damage emerging under higher AS. Under SS, barley accumulated organic acids, Cl, SO4 2−, and NO3 to balance the massive influx of cations, the contribution of inorganic ions to ion balance was greater than that of organic acids. However, AS might inhibit absorptions of NO3 and Cl, enhance organic acid synthesis, and SO4 2− absorption to maintain intracellular ion balance and stable pH.

Additional key words

Hordeum intercellular CO2 concentration photosynthesis relative growth rate roots shoot solute accumulation stomatal conductance transpiration rate water content 







internal CO2 concentration


dry mass


transpiration rate


electrolyte leakage rate


fresh mass


stomatal conductance


organic acid


net photosynthetic rate


relative growth rate


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.-W. Yang
    • 1
  • H.-H. Xu
    • 1
  • L.-L. Wang
    • 1
  • J. Liu
    • 1
  • D.-C. Shi
    • 1
    Email author
  • D.-L. Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology of Ministry of EducationNortheast Normal University ChangchunJilin ProvincePR China

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