Responses to salt stress in portulaca: Insight into its tolerance mechanisms

Orsolya Borsai, Mohamad Al Hassan, Cornel Negrușier, María D. Raigón, Monica Boscaiu*, Radu E. Sestraș, Oscar Vicente

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Climate change and its detrimental effects on agricultural production, freshwater availability and biodiversity accentuated the need for more stress-tolerant varieties of crops. This requires unraveling the underlying pathways that convey tolerance to abiotic stress in wild relatives of food crops, industrial crops and ornamentals, whose tolerance was not eroded by crop cycles. In this work we try to demonstrate the feasibility of such strategy applying and investigating the effects of saline stress in different species and cultivars of Portulaca. We attempted to unravel the main mechanisms of stress tolerance in this genus and to identify genotypes with higher tolerance, a procedure that could be used as an early detection method for other ornamental and minor crops. To investigate these mechanisms, six-week-old seedlings were subjected to saline stress for 5 weeks with increasing salt concentrations (up to 400 mM NaCl). Several growth parameters and biochemical stress markers were determined in treated and control plants, such as photosynthetic pigments, monovalent ions (Na+, K+ and Cl), different osmolytes (proline and soluble sugars), oxidative stress markers (malondialdehyde—a by-product of membrane lipid peroxidation—MDA) and non-enzymatic antioxidants (total phenolic compounds and total flavonoids). The applied salt stress inhibited plant growth, degraded photosynthetic pigments, increased concentrations of specific osmolytes in both leaves and roots, but did not induce significant oxidative stress, as demonstrated by only small fluctuations in MDA levels. All Portulaca genotypes analyzed were found to be Na+ and Cl includers, accumulating high amounts of these ions under saline stress conditions, but P. grandiflora proved to be more salt tolerant, showing only a small reduction under growth stress, an increased flower production and the lowest reduction in K+/Na+ rate in its leaves.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1660
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPlants
Volume9
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Abiotic stress
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Growth inhibition
  • Ion homeostasis
  • Proline
  • Salt stress

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