Rice is the staple food for almost half of the world population. In South and South East Asia, about 40% of rice production is from deltaic regions that are vulnerable to salt stress. A quantitative approach was developed for characterizing genotypic variability in biomass production, leaf transpiration rate and leaf net photosynthesis responses to salinity during the vegetative stage, with the aim of developing efficient screening protocols to accelerate breeding varieties adapted to salt-affected areas. Three varieties were evaluated in pots under greenhouse conditions and in the field, with average soil salinity ranging from 2 to 12 dS m−1. Plant biomass, net photosynthesis rate, leaf transpiration rate and leaf conductance were measured at regular intervals. Crop responses were fitted using a logistic function with three parameters: 1) maximum rate under control conditions (Ymax), 2) salinity level for 50% of reduction (b), and 3) rate of reduction (a). Variation in the three parameters correlated significantly with variation in plant biomass production under increasing salinity. Salt stress levels that caused 50% reduction in net leaf photosynthesis and transpiration rates were higher in the tolerant genotype BRRI Dhan47 (16.5 dS m−1 and 14.3 dS m−1, respectively) than the sensitive genotype IR29 (11.1 dS m−1 and 6.8 dS m−1). In BRRI Dhan47, the threshold beyond which growth was significantly reduced was above 5 dS m−1 and the rate of growth reduction beyond this threshold was as low as 4% per unit increase in salinity. This quantitative approach to screening for salinity tolerance in rice offers a means to better understand rice growth under salt stress and, using simulation modelling, can provide an improved tool for varietal characterization.
Radanielson, A. M., Angeles, O., Li, T., Ismail, A. M., & Gaydon, D. S. (2018). Describing the physiological responses of different rice genotypes to salt stress using sigmoid and piecewise linear functions. Field Crops Research, 220, 46–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2017.05.001