Journal Article

Excreting and non-excreting grasses exhibit different salt resistance strategies

Muhammad Moinuddin, Salman Gulzar, Muhammad Zaheer Ahmed, Bilquees Gul, Hans-Werner Koyro and Muhammad Ajmal Khan


Published on behalf of Annals of Botany Company

Volume 6, issue
Published online August 2014 | e-ISSN: 2041-2851 | DOI:

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Plant Physiology


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The combination of traits that makes a plant successful under saline conditions varies with the type of plant and its interaction with the environmental conditions. Knowledge about the contribution of these traits towards salt resistance in grasses has great potential for improving the salt resistance of conventional crops. We attempted to identify differential adaptive response patterns of salt-excreting versus non-excreting grasses. More specifically, we studied the growth, osmotic, ionic and nutrient (carbon/nitrogen) relations of two salt-excreting (Aeluropus lagopoides and Sporobolus tremulus) and two non-excreting (Paspalum paspalodes and Paspalidium geminatum) perennial C4 grasses under non-saline and saline (0, 200 and 400 mM NaCl) conditions. Growth and relative growth rate decreased under saline conditions in the order P. geminatum > S. tremulus = A. lagopoides > P. paspalodes. The root-to-shoot biomass allocation was unaffected in salt-excreting grasses, increased in P. paspalodes but decreased in P. geminatum. Salt-excreting grasses had a higher shoot/root Na+ ratio than non-excreting grasses. K+, Ca2+ and Mg2+ homoeostasis remained undisturbed among test grasses possibly through improved ion selectivity with rising substrate salinity. Salt-excreting grasses increased leaf succulence, decreased ψs and xylem pressure potential, and accumulated proline and glycinebetaine with increasing salinity. Higher salt resistance of P. paspalodes could be attributed to lower Na+ uptake, higher nitrogen-use efficiency and higher water-use efficiency among the test species. However, P. geminatum was unable to cope with salt-induced physiological drought. More information is required to adequately document the differential strategies of salt resistance in salt-excreting and non-excreting grasses.

Keywords: C–N balance; compatible solutes; halophytic grasses; ion homoeostasis; Na+ flux; nitrogen-use efficiency.

Journal Article.  6230 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Plant Physiology

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