Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 1113–1122 | Cite as

Salt-induced modulation in growth, photosynthetic capacity, proline content and ion accumulation in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)

  • Muhammad Shahbaz
  • Muhammad AshrafEmail author
  • Nudrat Aisha AkramEmail author
  • Asma Hanif
  • Shumaila Hameed
  • Sundus Joham
  • Rehana Rehman
Original Paper


Salt-induced changes in growth, photosynthetic pigments, various gas exchange characteristics, relative membrane permeability (RMP), relative water content (RWC) and ion accumulation were examined in a greenhouse experiment on eight sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) cultivars. Sunflower cultivars, namely Hysun-33, Hysun-38, M-3260, S-278, Alstar-Rm, Nstt-160, Mehran-II and Brocar were subjected to non-stress (0 mM NaCl) or salt stress (150 mM NaCl) in sand culture. On the basis of percent reduction in shoot biomass, cvs. Hysun-38 and Nstt-160 were found to be salt tolerant, cvs. Hysun-33, M-3260, S-278 and Mehran-II moderately tolerant and Alstar-Rm and Brocar salt sensitive. Salt stress markedly reduced growth, different gas exchange characteristics such as photosynthetic rate (A), water-use efficiency (WUE) calculated as A/E, transpiration rate (E), internal CO2 concentration (C i) and stomatal conductance (g s) in all cultivars. The effect of 150 mM NaCl stress was non-significant on chlorophyll a and b contents, chlorophyll a/b ratio, RWC, RMP and leaf and root Cl, K+ and P contents; however, salt stress markedly enhanced C i /C a ratio, free proline content and leaf and root Na+ concentrations in all sunflower cultivars. Of all cultivars, cv. Hysun-38 was higher in gas exchange characteristics, RWC and proline contents as compared with the other cultivars. Overall, none of the earlier-mentioned physiological attributes except leaf K+/Na+ ratio was found to be effective in discriminating the eight sunflower cultivars as the response of each cultivar to salt stress appraised using various physiological attributes was cultivar-specific.


Sunflower Salt stress Photosynthesis Relative membrane permeability Relative water content Inorganic nutrients 



The corresponding author gratefully acknowledges the funding from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) through Grant No. 20-403. The results presented in this paper are a part of MSc studies of Asma Hanif, Shumaila Hameed, Sundus Joham and Rehana Rehman.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Shahbaz
    • 1
  • Muhammad Ashraf
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nudrat Aisha Akram
    • 1
    Email author
  • Asma Hanif
    • 1
  • Shumaila Hameed
    • 1
  • Sundus Joham
    • 1
  • Rehana Rehman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  2. 2.King Saud University RiyadhRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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