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Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Whole-Plant Responses to Salinity

R Munns and A Termaat

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 13(1) 143 - 160
Published: 1986


This paper discusses whole-plant responses to salinity in order to answer the question of what process limits growth of non-halophytes in saline soils. Leaf growth is more sensitive to salinity than root growth, so we focus on the process or processes that might limit leaf expansion. Effects of short-term exposure (days) are considered separately from long-term exposure (weeks to years). The answer in the short term is probably the water status of the root and we suggest that a message from the root is regulating leaf expansion. The answer to what limits growth in the long term may be the maximum salt concentration tolerated by the fully expanded leaves of the shoot; if the rate of leaf death approaches the rate of new leaf expansion, the photosynthetic area will eventually become too low to support continued growth.

© CSIRO 1986

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