Center for Data Sciences, College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Elaeagnus angustifolia is one of the most extensively afforested tree species in environment-harsh regions of northern China. Despite its exceptional tolerance to saline soil, the intrinsic adaptive physiology has not been revealed. In this study, we investigated the growth, organ-level ionic relations and organic osmoregulation of the seedlings hydroponically treated with 0, 100 and 200 mM NaCl for 30 days. We found that the growth characteristics and the whole-plant dry weight were not obviously stunted, but instead, were even slightly stimulated by the treatment of 100 mM NaCl. In contrast, these traits were significantly inhibited by 200 mM NaCl treatment. Interestingly, as compared with the control (0 mM NaCl), both 100 and 200 mM NaCl treatments had a promotional effect on root growth as evidenced by 26.3% and 2.4% increases in root dry weight, respectively. Roots had the highest Na+ and Cl- concentrations and obviously served as the sink for the net increased Na+ and Cl-, while, stems might maintain the capacity of effective Na+ constraint, resulting in reduced Na+ transport to the leaves. K+, Ca2+ and Mg2+ concentrations in three plant organs of NaCl-treated seedlings presented a substantial decline, eventually leading to an enormously drop of K+/Na+ ratio. As the salt concentration increased, proline and soluble protein contents continuously exhibited a prominent and a relatively tardy accumulation, respectively, whereas soluble sugar firstly fell to a significant level and then regained to a level that is close to that of the control. Taken together, our results provided quantitative measures that revealed some robust adaptive physiological mechanisms underpinning E. angustifolia’s moderately high salt tolerance, and those mechanisms comprise scalable capacity for root Na+ and Cl- storage, effectively constrained transportation of Na+ from stems to leaves, root compensatory growth, as well as an immediate and prominent leaf proline accumulation.
Growth performance, organ-level ionic relations and organic osmoregulation of Elaeagnus angustifolia in response to salt stress.
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