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Differences in responses of moderately salt-tolerant and salt-sensitive tree species to heterogeneous salinity

Feng, X. H., An, P., Guo, K., Li, X. G., Liu, X. J.
Biologia plantarum 2018 v.62 no.3 pp. 589-594
Fraxinus velutina, Populus, biomass, compensatory growth, fine roots, gas exchange, leaves, photosynthesis, proline, rhizosphere, salinity, salt tolerance, sodium, sodium chloride, sugar content, transpiration, trees
Growth responses of the moderately salt-tolerant velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina) and salt-sensitive poplar (Populus × euramericana) were investigated under heterogeneous root zone salinity. The salinity treatments imposed on the two root zones (lower-higher) were 137-137 (uniform), 103-171, 68-205, 34-239, and 0-273 mM NaCl for velvet ash, and 51-51 (uniform), 34-68, 17-85, and 0-103 mM NaCl for poplar. The leaf gas exchange of the plants was measured one month after these treatments were implemented, and the plants were sampled 75 d after treatment to measure other physiological parameters. Net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, total biomass, and fine root compensatory growth increased as the difference in salinity between the two root zones (i.e., salinity heterogeneity) increased in velvet ash. These parameters showed no significant difference among the treatments in poplar. The leaf Na⁺ content was lower under heterogeneous salinity than under uniform salinity in both tested species. The leaf proline content in velvet ash decreased under heterogeneous salinity compared to that under uniform salinity, whereas that of poplar increased. The soluble sugar content of velvet ash leaves increased under heterogeneous salinity, whereas no changes were observed in poplar. The increased fine root biomass in the lower salinity zone promoted velvet ash growth by decreasing the leaf Na⁺ and Cl⁻ content under heterogeneous salinity. The poplar’s undifferentiated root distribution and gas exchange in response to the heterogeneous salinity were attributed to its salt sensitivity.