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Growth patterns of Phragmites karka under saline conditions depend on the bulk elastic modulus
Salt stress is known to hamper steady state water flow which may reduce plant growth. This research was aimed to study the roles of leaf turgor, osmotic adjustment and cell wall elasticity under saline conditions which may reduce biomass production in Phragmites karka (Retz.) Trin, ex. Steud. (a marsh grass). Plants were grown in 0, 100 and 300 mM NaCl and harvested on 3, 7, 15 and 30 days to observe periodic changes in growth and water relations. Leaf number, relative growth rate, and relative elongation rates were higher in the non-saline control than in the plants grown under saline conditions. Plants showed a rapid decline in leaf growth rate (7-15 days) in 300 mM NaCl compared to a delayed response (15-30 days) in 100 mM NaCl. Leaf water potential decreased with increases in salinity after the third day of exposure while osmotic potential decreased after the fifteenth day. Low leaf turgor (Ψp) on the third day indicated an initial phase of osmotic stress under saline conditions. Plants maintained higher Ψp in 0 and 100 mM than in 300 mM NaCl. Differences between mid-day and pre-dawn water potential and water saturation deficit were higher in 300 mM NaCl than with other treatments. Water potential and hydraulic capacitance at turgor loss point decreased while bulk elastic modulus increased in 300 mM NaCl. Maintenance of turgor and growth at 100 mM NaCl could be related to efficient osmotic adjustment (use of K+ and Cl-), higher WUEi, and lower bulk elasticity while poor growth at 300 mM NaCl may have been a consequence of low turgor, decreased cell hydraulic capacitance and higher bulk elastic modulus.
CP17195 Accepted 08 February 2018
© CSIRO 2018