Interactive effects of salt and alkali stresses on seed germination, germination recovery, and seedling growth of a halophyte Spartina alterniflora (Poaceae)

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Abstract

Soil salinization and alkalinization frequently co-occur in nature, but there is little information on the interactive effects of salt and alkali stresses on plants. Seed germination and early seedling growth are crucial stages for plant establishment. We investigated the interactive effects of salt and alkali stresses on seed germination, germination recovery and seedling growth of a halophyte Spartina alterniflora. Seed germination percentage was not significantly reduced at low salinity (≤ 200 mM) at pH 6.63-9.95, but decreased with increased salinity and pH. Ungerminated seeds germinated well after transfer to distilled water from treatment solutions, indicating that seeds can remain viable in high salt-alkaline habits. Shoot growth was stimulated at low salinity and pH, but decreased with increased salinity and pH. Radicle elongation decreased sharply with increased salinity and pH, and was significantly inhibited when pH ≥ 9.0, indicating that the radicles are very sensitive to salt-alkaline stress. The deleterious effects of salinity or high pH alone were less than when combined. A reciprocal enhancement of salt and alkali stresses is a characteristic feature for salt-alkaline stress. Stepwise regression analysis indicates that salinity is the dominant factor, while pH and buffer capacity are secondary for salt-alkaline mixed stress. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Li, R., Shi, F., & Fukuda, K. (2010). Interactive effects of salt and alkali stresses on seed germination, germination recovery, and seedling growth of a halophyte Spartina alterniflora (Poaceae). South African Journal of Botany, 76(2), 380–387. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2010.01.004

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