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Osmotic adjustment, water relations and growth attributes of the xero-halophyte Reaumuria vermiculata L. (Tamaricaceae) in response to salt stress

Abstract

Reaumuria vermiculata (L.), a perennial dwarf shrub in the family of Tamaricaceae, is a salt-secreting xero-halophyte found widely in arid areas of Tunisia. In the present study, physiological attributes of R. vermiculata were investigated under salt stress. Four-month-old plants were subjected to various salinity levels (0, 100, 200, 300, 400 or 600 mM NaCl) for 30 days under greenhouse conditions. Results showed that plants grew optimally when treated with standard nutrient solution without NaCl supply. However, increasing osmolality of nutrient solutions caused a significant reduction in biomass production and relative growth rate. This reduction was more pronounced in roots than in shoots. In addition, this species was able to maintain its shoot water content at 30% of the control even when subjected to the highest salt level, whereas root water content seemed to be unaffected by salt. Shoot water potential declined significantly as osmotic potential of watering solutions was lowered and the more negative values were reached at 600 mM NaCl (−3.4 MPa). Concentrations of Na+ and Cl in the shoots of R. vermiculata were markedly increased with increasing osmolality of nutrient solutions, whereas concentration of K+ was not affected by NaCl supply. Salt excretion is an efficient mechanism of Na+ exclusion from the shoots of this species exhibiting high K+/Na+ selectivity ratio over a wide range of NaCl salinity. Proline accumulation in shoots was significantly increased with increase in salt level and may play a role in osmoregulation.

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Correspondence to Mustapha Gorai.

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Communicated by R. Aroca.

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Gorai, M., Neffati, M. Osmotic adjustment, water relations and growth attributes of the xero-halophyte Reaumuria vermiculata L. (Tamaricaceae) in response to salt stress. Acta Physiol Plant 33, 1425–1433 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11738-010-0677-5

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Keywords

  • Osmoregulation
  • Reaumuria vermiculata
  • Relative growth rate
  • Salinity
  • Solute accumulation
  • Water relations