Phytoamelioration of the Salt-Affected Soils Through Halophytes

  • Arvind Kumar
  • Ashwani Kumar
  • Anita Mann
  • Geeta Devi
  • Hariom Sharma
  • Rachna Singh
  • Satish Kumar Sanwal


In recent years scarcity of fresh water and the secondary salinization of agricultural lands are becoming much more challenging worldwide. The use of these salt-affected marginal lands for crop production is an increasing trend as they are valuable resource that cannot be neglected and will be crucial for ensuring sufficient food to a burgeoning population. The present global scenario is also a pointer to the urgent need for bringing salt-affected marginal lands under cultivation. Previously reclamation of salt-affected soils has been predominately achieved through the application of chemical amendments, although the costs of these chemical amendments like gypsum or pyrite for reclamation of alkali soils have increased prohibitively over the past two decades because of competing demands from industries and reductions in government subsidies for their agricultural use. Therefore, calls for phytoamelioration of degraded lands through growing halophytic crops/grasses/trees seem to be one of the alternative methods of reclamation of these lands. Additionally alkali soils of India and Pakistan contain high levels of insoluble calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which can be made soluble by adding acid or acid formers. It could be best done by enhancing biological activity either through the addition of organic matter or cultivation of halophytes. Thus phytoamelioration is one of the more effective approaches for resource-poor farmers and community-based reclamation management of moderately saline-sodic and sodic soils. Currently it has become viable approach in many parts of the world including India.


Phytoamelioration Phytodesalination Salinization Halophytes 


  1. Ahmad N, Qureshi RH, Qadir M (1990) Amelioration of a calcareous saline-sodic soil by gypsum and forage plants. Land Degrad Rehabil 2:277–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashraf MY (2007) Variation in nutritional composition and growth performance of some halophytic species grown under saline conditions. Afr J Range Forage Sci 24:19–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aslam Z, Saleem M, Qureshi RH, Sandhu GR (1987) Salt tolerance of Echinochloa crusgalli. Biol Plant 29:66–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayyappan D, Balakrishnan V, Ravindran KC (2013) Potentiality of Suaeda monoica Forsk. A salt marsh halophyte on restoration of saline agricultural soil. World Appl Sci J 28(12):2026–2032Google Scholar
  5. Barrett-Lennard EG (2002) Restoration of saline land through revegetation. Agric Water Manag 53:213–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Batra L, Kumar A, Manna MC, Chhabra R (1997) Microbiological and chemical amelioration of alkaline soil by growing Karnal grass and gypsum application. Exp Agric 33:389–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhojvaid PP, Timmer V (1998) Soil dynamics in an age sequence of Prosopis juliflora planted for sodic soil restoration in India. For Ecol Manag 106:181–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bhumbla DR, Abrol IP (1979) Saline and sodic soils. In: Proceedings, symposium on soil and rice, September 20–23 1977, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines, pp 719–738Google Scholar
  9. Boyko H (1966) Basic ecological principles of plant growing by irrigation with high saline seawater. In: Boyko H (ed) Salinity and aridity. D.W. Junk Publisher, The HaugeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carty DT, Swetish SM, Crawley WW, Priebe WF (1997) Major variables influencing technology solution for remediation of salt affected soils. In: Proceedings of the rocky mountain symposium of environmental issues in oil and gas operations; cost effective strategies. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, pp 145–152Google Scholar
  11. Chaudhri II, Shah BH, Naqvi N, Mallick IA (1964) Investigations on the role of Suaeda fruticosa Forsk in the reclamation of saline and alkaline soils in West Pakistan. Plant Soil 21:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chaudhry MR, Abaidullah M (1988) Economics and effectiveness of biological and chemical methods in soil reclamation. Pak J Agric Res 9:106–114Google Scholar
  13. Farah Al-Nasir (2009) Bioreclamation of a saline sodic soil in a semi arid region/Jordan. Am-Eurasian J Agric Environ Sci 5:701–706Google Scholar
  14. Flowers TJ, Colmer TD (2008) Salinity tolerance in halophytes. New Phytol 179:945–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garduno MA (1993) Kochia: a new alternative for forage under high salinity conditions of Mexico. In: Lieth H, Al Masoom A (eds) Towards the rational use of high salinity tolerant plants, vol 1. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 459–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Garg VK (1998) Interaction of tree crops with a sodic soil environment: potential for rehabilitation of degraded environments. Land Degrad Dev 9:81–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glenn E, Hicks N, Riley J, Swingle S (1996) Seawater irrigation of halophytes for animal feed. In: Choukr-Allah R et al (eds) Halophytes and biosaline agriculture. Marcell Dekker, New York, pp 221–236Google Scholar
  18. Gorham J (1995) Mechanism of salt tolerance of halophytes. In: Choukr-Allah R, Malcolm CV, Hamdy A (eds) Halophytes and biosaline agriculture. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 207–223Google Scholar
  19. Goudie AS (1990) Soil salinity- causes and controls. In: Techniques for desert reclamation. Wiley, Chichester, pp 110–111Google Scholar
  20. Grieve CM, Suarez DL (1997) Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.): a halophytic crop for drainage water reuse systems. Plant Soil 192:277–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hamid A, Chaudhry MR, Ahmad B (1990) Biotic reclamation of a saline-sodic soil. In: Proceedings of symposium on irrigation systems management/research, 73–86. 12–14 November 1990. USAID and Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, PakistanGoogle Scholar
  22. Helalia AM, EI-Amir S, Abou-Zeid ST, Zaghloul KF (1992) Bio-reclamation of saline-sodic soil by Amshot grass in Northern Egypt. Soil Tillage Res 22:109–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ilyas M, Miller RW, Qureshi RH (1993) Hydraulic conductivity of saline-sodic soil after gypsum application and cropping. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:1580–1585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jain RK, Singh B (1998) Biomass production and soil amelioration in a high density Terminalia Arjuna plantation on sodic soils. Biomass Bioenergy 15:187–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jlassi A, Zorrig W, Khouni AE, Lakhdar A, Smaoui A, Abdelly C, Rabhi M (2013) Phytodesalination of a moderately-salt-affected soil by Sulla carnosa. Int J Phytoreme 15(4):398–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaur B, Gupta SR, Singh G (2002) Bioamelioration of a sodic soil by silvopastoral systems in northwestern India. Agrofor Syst 54:13–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kilic C, Kukul Y, Anac D (2008) Performance of purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.), as a salt removing crop. Agric Water Manag 95(7):854–858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kumar A, Abrol IP (1984) Studies on the reclaiming effect of Karnal-grass and para-grass grown in a highly sodic soil. Indian J Agric Sci 54:189–193Google Scholar
  29. Maas EV, Grattan SR (1999) Crop yields as affected by salinity. In: Skaggs RW, van Schilfgaarde J (eds) Agricultural drainage. ASA-CSSA-SSSA, Madison, pp 55–108Google Scholar
  30. Malcolm CV (1993) The potential of halophytes for rehabilitation of degraded lands. In: Davidson N, Galloway R (eds) Productive use of saline land. ACIAR proceedings 42. Perth, Western Australia, 8–11Google Scholar
  31. Marschner H (1986) Mineral nutrition of higher plants. Academic, London, p 674Google Scholar
  32. Munns R (2005) Genes and salt tolerance: bringing them together. New Phytol 167:645–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oster JD, Shainberg I, Abrol IP (1999) Reclamation of salt affected soils. In: Skaggs RW, van Schilfgaarde J (eds) Agricultural drainage. ASA-CSSA-SSSA, Madison, pp 659–691Google Scholar
  34. Owens S (2001) Salt of the earth. EMBO Rep 2:877–879CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pitman MG, Lauchli A (2002) Global impact of salinity and agricultural ecosystems. In: Lauchli A, Luttge U (eds) Salinity: environment–plants–molecules. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 3–20Google Scholar
  36. Qadir M, Oster JD (2002) Vegetative bioremediation of calcareous sodic soils: history, mechanisms, and evaluation. Irrig Sci 21:91–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Qadir M, Oster JD (2004) Crop and irrigation management strategies for saline-sodic soils and waters aimed at environmentally sustainable agriculture. Sci Total Environ 323:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Qadir M, Qureshi RH, Ahmad N (1996) Reclamation of a saline-sodic soil by gypsum and Leptochloa fusca. Geoderma 74:207–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Qadir M, Qureshi RH, Ahmad N (1997) Nutrient availability in a calcareous saline-sodic soil during vegetative bioremediation. Arid Soil Res Rehabil 11:343–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Qadir M, Qureshi RH, Ahmad N (2002) Amelioration of calcareous saline–sodic soils through phytoremediation and chemical strategies. Soil Use Manag 18:381–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Qadir M, Oster JD, Schubet S, Murtaza G (2006) Vegetative bioremediation of sodic and saline-sodic soils for productivity enhancement and environment conservation. In: Öztürk M, Waisel Y, Khan MA (eds) Biosaline agriculture and salinity tolerance in plants. Birkhaüser Verlag, Basel, pp 137–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Qureshi RH, Barrett-Lennard EG (1998) Saline Agriculture for Irrigated Land in Pakistan. In: A handbook. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  43. Qureshi RH, Nawaz S, Mahmood T (1993) Performance of selected tree species under saline-sodic field conditions in Pakistan. In: Lieth H, Al Masoom A (eds) Towards the rational use of high salinity tolerant plants, vol 1. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 259–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rabhi M, Bouraoui NK, Medini R, Attia H, Athar HR, Abdelly C, Smaoui A (2010) Seasonal variations in phytodesalination capacity of two perennial halophytes in their natural biotope. J Biol Res-Thessaloniki 14:181–189Google Scholar
  45. Rabhi M, Ferchichi S, Jouini J, Hamrouni MH, Koyro HW, Ranieri A, Abdelly C, Smaoui A (2010a) Phytodesalination of a salt-affected soil with the halophyte Sesuvium portulacastrum L. to arrange in advance the requirements for the successful growth of a glycophytic crop. Bioresour Technol 101:6822–6828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rangasamy P (2006) World salinization with emphasis on Australia. J Exp Bot 57:1017–1023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ravindran KC, Venkatesan K, Balakrishnan V, Chelappan KP, Balasubramanian T (2007) Resortation of saline land by halophytes for Indian soil. Soil Biol Biochem 39:2661–2664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Robbins CW (1986) Sodic calcareous soil reclamation as affected by different amendments and crops. Agron J 78:916–920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rozema J (1996) Biology of halophytes. In: Choukr-Allah R, Malcolm V, Hamdy A (eds) Halophytes and biosaline agriculture. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 17–30Google Scholar
  50. Sandhu GR, Qureshi RH (1986) Salt-affected soils of Pakistan and their utilization. Reclam Reveg Res 5:105–113Google Scholar
  51. Sehgal JL, Sexena RK, Pofali RM (1990) Degraded soils, their mapping through soil surveys. In: Abrol IP, Dhruvanarayna VV (eds) Technology for wasteland development, Pub. Inform. Div. ICAR, New Delhi, pp 1–20Google Scholar
  52. Shannon MC (1997) Adaptation of plants to salinity. Adv Agron 60:76–120Google Scholar
  53. Shekhawat VPS, Kumar A, Neumann KH (2006) Bio-reclamation of secondary salinized soils using halophytes. In: Öztürk M, Waisel Y, Khan MA, Gork G (eds) Biosaline agriculture and salinity tolerance in plants. Birkhauser Verlag, Switzerland, pp 147–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Singh B (1989) Rehabilitation of alkaline wasteland on the Gangetic alluvial plains of Uttar Pradesh, India, through afforestation. Land Degrad Rehabil 1:305–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Singh MV, Singh KN (1989) Reclamation techniques for improvement of sodic soils and crop yields. Indian J Agric Sci 59:495–500Google Scholar
  56. Singh NT, Dagar JC, Singh G (1994) Conservation of soils against water logging and salinization. . Ind J Soil Cons Serv. USDA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  57. WCD (2000) Dams and development: a new framework for decision making. Report of the World Commission on Dams Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  58. Włodarczyk T, Stepniewski W, Brzezinska M (2002) Dehydrogenase activity, redox potential, and emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide from Cambisols under flooding conditions. Biol Fertil Soils 36:200–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yensen NP, Hinchman RR, Negri MC, Mollock GM, Settle T, Keifter CS, Carby DJ, Rodgers B, Martin R, Erickson R (1999) Halophytes to manage oilfield salt water: disposal by irrigation/evapotranspiration and remediation of spills. In: Sublette KL (ed) Proceedings of the sixth international petroleum environmental conference. Environmental issue and solutions in petroleum exploration, production and refining, Houston TX, November 16–18Google Scholar
  60. Yunusa IAM, Newton PJ (2003) Plants for amelioration of subsoil constraints and hydrological control: the primer – plant concept. Plant Soil 257:261–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zhao KF (1991) Desalination of saline soils by Suaeda salsa. Plant Soil 135(2):303–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zhao KF, Fan H, Song J, Sun MX, Wang BZ, Zhang SQ, Ungar IA (2005) Na+ and Cl hyper-accumulators of the Chenopodiaceae. J Integr Plant Biol 47(3):311–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zhao Z, Zhang K, Wang P, Wang L, Yin C, Tian C (2013) The effects of halophytes on salt balance in an arid irrigation district. J Food Agric Environ 11(3&4):2669–2673Google Scholar
  64. Zorrig W, Rabhi M, Ferchichi S, Smaoui A, Abdelly C (2012) Phytodesalination: a solution for salt-affected soils in arid and semi-arid regions. J Arid Land Stud 22(1):299–302Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arvind Kumar
    • 1
  • Ashwani Kumar
    • 1
  • Anita Mann
    • 1
  • Geeta Devi
    • 2
  • Hariom Sharma
    • 3
  • Rachna Singh
    • 1
  • Satish Kumar Sanwal
    • 1
  1. 1.ICAR – Central Soil Salinity Research InstituteKarnalIndia
  2. 2.Rashtriya Kisan Post Graduate CollegeShamliIndia
  3. 3.ICAR-Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard ResearchBharatpurIndia

Personalised recommendations