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Developing a high-throughput phenotyping method for oxidative stress tolerance in barley roots


Wang, H and Shabala, L and Zhou, M and Shabala, S, Developing a high-throughput phenotyping method for oxidative stress tolerance in barley roots, Plant Methods, 15 Article 12. ISSN 1746-4811 (2019) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1186/s13007-019-0397-9



More than 20% of the world’s agricultural land is affected by salinity, resulting in multibillion-dollar penalties and jeopardising food security. While the recent progress in molecular technologies has significantly advanced plant breeding for salinity stress tolerance, accurate plant phenotyping remains a bottleneck of many breeding programs. We have recently shown the existence of a strong causal link between salinity and oxidative stress tolerance in cereals (wheat and barley). Using the microelectrode ion flux estimation (MIFE) method, we have also found a major QTL conferring ROS control of ion flux in roots that coincided with the major QTL for the overall salinity stress tolerance. These findings open new (previously unexplored) prospects of improving salinity tolerance by pyramiding this trait alongside with other (traditional) mechanisms.


In this work, two high-throughput phenotyping methods—viability assay and root growth assay—were tested and assessed as a viable alternative to the (technically complicated) MIFE method using barley as a check species. In viability staining experiments, a dose-dependent H2O2-triggered loss of root cell viability was observed, with salt sensitive varieties showing significantly more damage to root cells. In the root growth assays, relative root length (RRL) was measured in plants grown in paper rolls under different H2O2 concentrations. The biggest difference in RRL between contrasting varieties was observed for 1 mM H2O2 treatment. Under these conditions, a significant negative correlation in the reduction in RRL and the overall salinity tolerance is reported.


These findings offer plant breeders a convenient high throughput method to screen germplasm for oxidative stress tolerance, targeting root-based genes regulating ion homeostasis and thus conferring salinity stress tolerance in barley (and potentially other species).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:barley, salinity, viability staining, root growth assay, phenotyping, oxidative stress
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural land management
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Grains and seeds
Objective Field:Barley
UTAS Author:Wang, H (Miss Haiyang Wang)
UTAS Author:Shabala, L (Associate Professor Lana Shabala)
UTAS Author:Zhou, M (Professor Meixue Zhou)
UTAS Author:Shabala, S (Professor Sergey Shabala)
ID Code:136230
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2019-12-09
Last Modified:2020-05-20
Downloads:19 View Download Statistics

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