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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |         Contents Vol 38(10)

Beyond the ionic and osmotic response to salinity in Chenopodium quinoa: functional elements of successful halophytism

Francesco Orsini A, Mattia Accorsi A, Giorgio Gianquinto A, Giovanni Dinelli A, Fabiana Antognoni B, Karina B. Ruiz Carrasco C, Enrique A. Martinez D E, Mohammad Alnayef A, Ilaria Marotti A, Sara Bosi A and Stefania Biondi A F

A Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agroambientali, (DiSTA), Università di Bologna, viale Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy.
B Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Università di Bologna, via Irnerio 42, 40126 Bologna, Italy.
C Dipartimento di Colture Arboree, Università di Bologna, viale Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy.
D Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Aridas (CEAZA), Av. Raúl Bitrán s/n, La Serena, Chile.
E Applied Biology and Ecology, Universidad Catolica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile.
F Corresponding author. Email: stefania.biondi@unibo.it

Functional Plant Biology 38(10) 818-831 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP11088
Submitted: 12 April 2011  Accepted: 23 July 2011   Published: 16 September 2011

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Chenopodium quinoa Willd. (quinoa) is a halophyte for which some parameters linked to salt tolerance have been investigated separately in different genotypes and under different growth conditions. In this study, several morphological and metabolic responses were analysed in parallel after exposure to salinity. In vitro seed germination was initially delayed by a 150 mM NaCl treatment but eventually reached the same level as the control (0 mM NaCl), whereas seedling root growth was enhanced; both parameters were moderately inhibited (~35–50%) by 300 mM NaCl. In pot grown plants, plant size was reduced by increasing salinity (0–750 mM NaCl). Transpiration and stomatal conductance were decreased at the highest salinity levels tested, consistent with reduced stomatal density and size. The density of epidermal bladder cells (EBCs) on the leaf surface remained unaffected up to 600 mM NaCl. Tissue contents of Na+ and Cl increased dramatically with salt treatment, but resulted in only a 50% increase in Na+ from 150 to 750 mM NaCl. Internal K+ was unaffected up to 450 mM NaCl but increased at the highest salinity levels tested. Excretion through sequestration into EBCs was limited (generally ≤20%) for all ions. A modest dose-dependent proline accumulation, and concomitant reduction in total polyamines and putrescine efflux occurred in NaCl-treated plants. Results confirm the importance of inorganic ions for osmotic adjustment, the plant’s ability to maintain K+ levels and the involvement of putrescine efflux in maintaining ionic balance under high salinity conditions. Conversely, ion excretion and proline appear to play a minor role. Taken together these results indicate which parameters could be used for future comparison among different genotypes.

Additional keywords: ion homeostasis, osmoprotectant, salt glands.


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