Effects of various salt-alkaline mixed stresses on Aneurolepidium chinense (Trin.) Kitag.
The stress conditions of salt-alkalinized soil were simulated to investigate the features and acting factors of salt-alkaline mixed stress, using a natural salt-alkaline tolerant grass Aneurolepidium chinense (Trin.) Kitag. According to the features of salt-alkalinized soil in the northeast of China, various salt-alkali conditions with different salinities and pHs were established by mixing NaCl, NaHCO3, Na2SO4, and Na2CO3, in various proportions. The treatments included a salt concentration range of 50 to 350 mM and pH values from 7.14 to 10.81. Seedlings of A. chinense were stressed under these salt-alkali conditions. Several physiological indices of seedling stress were determined, including survival rate, tillering rate, number of rhizomes, relative growth rate (RGR), proline content, electrolyte leakage rate, and Na+ and K+ content, in order to analyze the characteristics of the stresses due to the salt-alkali mixes and their main stress factors.
The results showed that the survival rate, tillering rate, number of rhizomes, RGR, and K+ content of A. chinense decreased with increasing salinity and pH (or alkalinity). Proline and Na+ content and electrolyte leakage rate increased with increasing salinity and pH (or alkalinity). The deleterious effects of a high pH value or salinity alone were significantly less than those of high pH in combination with salinity. This result suggested that for a salt-alkaline mixed stress, a reciprocal enhancement between salt stress and alkali stress was a characteristic feature, and it was most evidently reflected in the survival rate. When salinity was below 125 mM or pH was below 8.8, survival rates were all 100%. However, when salinity was above 125 mM and pH was above 8.8, survival rates sharply declined with the increasing of either salinity or pH.
The buffer capacity of the treatment solution was taken as a stress factor in order to simplify the stress factor analysis. The results of the statistical analysis showed that for the stress factors of the salt-alkaline mixed stress, [CO 3 2− ] and [HCO 3 − ] could be fully represented by the buffer capacity, and [Na+] could be fully represented by salinity, whereas [SO 4 2− ] was negligible. Therefore, four factors, salinity, buffer capacity, pH and [Cl−], could reflect all of the stress factors. Perfect linear correlations were observed between all physiological indices and four or three stress factors by a stepwise regression analysis. However, the effects of the four stress factors on the physiological indices were significantly different in magnitude. Buffer capacity and salinity were dominant factors for all physiological indices. Thus, it is reasonable to consider the sum of salinity plus buffer capacity as the strength value of salt-alkaline mixed stress. Furthermore, the relationships between different physiological indices and various stress factors were shown to be different.
Keywordsalkali stress buffer capacity pH salinity salt stress stress factor
relative growth rate
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