The lack of an effective evaluation method for salt tolerance in the screening process is one of the reasons for limited success in conventional salt tolerance breeding. This study was designed to identify useful agronomic parameters for evaluation of salt tolerance and to evaluate genotypes by multiple agronomic parameters for salt tolerance at different growth stages. Twelve genotypes were grown in a greenhouse in sand and irrigated with nutrient solutions of control and treatments amended with NaCl and CaCl2 (5:1 molar concentration) at 4.4 and 8.2 dS m-1 electrical conductivity. Wide genotypic differences in relative salt tolerance based on seedling growth were identified. The duration of reproductive growth between panicle initiation and anthesis was either reduced or increased by salinity, but the response was not strictly correlated with relative salt tolerance in seed yield among genotypes. Wide genotypic differences in relative salt tolerance based on spikelet and tiller numbers were identified. Few genotypic differences were identified for fertility and kernel weight. Spikelet and tiller numbers contributed most of the variation to seed yield among parameters investigated. When genotypes were ranked for salt tolerance based on the means of multiple parameters, dramatic changes of salt tolerance at early and seed maturity stages were observed in two genotypes, GZ5291-7-1-2 and GZ178. IR63731-1-1-4-3-2 was identified with a favourable combination of salt tolerance at early seedling and seed maturity stages. Cluster group ranking of genotypes based on multiple agronomic characters can be applied in salt tolerance breeding to evaluate salt tolerance and may have great advantage over conventional methods.
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Zeng, L., Shannon, M. & Grieve, C. Evaluation of salt tolerance in rice genotypes by multiple agronomic parameters. Euphytica 127, 235–245 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1020262932277