Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 41:159 | Cite as

Sensitivity and biochemical mechanisms of sunflower genotypes exposed to saline and water stress

  • Cibelley Vanúcia Santana Dantas Barros
  • Yuri Lima Melo
  • Matheus de Freitas SouzaEmail author
  • Daniel Valadão Silva
  • Cristiane Elizabeth Costa de Macedo
Original Article


Crops tolerant to salt and drought stress are an excellent alternative for producers in semi-arid regions. However, it is necessary to select the crops more tolerant and understand their involved mechanisms. We evaluated the effects of salinity and drought on growth, water status, membrane integrity, as well the behavior of organic and inorganic solutes in sunflower genotypes. Greenhouse experiments were performed to evaluate the tolerance of sunflower genotypes (Catissol 01 and Helio 253) to the salt and drought stress. The salt and drought stress were simulated by sodium chloride (NaCl) and polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000), respectively. The treatments with NaCl and PEG 6000 induced adverse changes on the growth, water status and cell membranes of the sunflower plants. Sunflower genotypes are more sensitive to water deficit due to the higher osmotic imbalance. The presence of saline ions minimized damages in sunflowers genotypes caused by lower water potential. The Catissol 01 genotype accumulated Na+ in the stem and roots avoiding translocation to the leaves. Helio 253 showed higher tolerance to the salt and drought stress than Catissol 01. Salinity and drought caused alterations on the carbohydrates and nitrogen compounds of the two sunflower genotypes. Soluble sugars, soluble proteins, free amino acids, and proline participate differently in the osmotic adjustment of the genotypes. The accumulation of soluble sugars, soluble proteins, and proline in the leaves is a mechanism that increases the tolerance to the salt and drought stress in the Helio 253 genotype.


Helianthus annuus L. Membrane damage Osmoregulators mechanisms 



The root length


Fresh leaf matter


Fresh stem matter


Fresh root matter


Leaf area


Leaf area ratio


Total soluble sugars


Total soluble proteins


Total soluble proteins


Bovine albumin


Total amino acids


Total free amino acid concentration





To “Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)” and “Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento e Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Finance Code 001” for financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cibelley Vanúcia Santana Dantas Barros
    • 1
  • Yuri Lima Melo
    • 2
  • Matheus de Freitas Souza
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Valadão Silva
    • 1
  • Cristiane Elizabeth Costa de Macedo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Crop ProductionUniversidade Rural do Semi-ÁridoMossoróBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Crop ProductionUniversidade Estadual da ParaíbaCampina GrandeBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Crop ProductionUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do NorteNatalBrazil

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