A root's ability to retain K+ correlates with salt tolerance in wheat
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Cuin, TA and Betts, S and Chalmandrier, R and Shabala, SN, A root's ability to retain K+ correlates with salt tolerance in wheat, Journal of Experimental Botany, 59, (10) pp. 2697-2706. ISSN 0022-0957 (2008) [Refereed Article]
Most work on wheat breeding for salt tolerance has focused mainly on excluding Na+ from uptake and transport to the shoot. However, some recent findings have reported no apparent correlation between leaf Na + content and wheat salt tolerance. Thus, it appears that excluding Na+ by itself is not always sufficient to increase plant salt tolerance and other physiological traits should also be considered. In this work, it was investigated whether a root's ability to retain K+ may be such a trait, and whether our previous findings for barley can be extrapolated to species following a 'salt exclusion' strategy. NaCl-induced kinetics of K+ flux from roots of two bread and two durum wheat genotypes, contrasting in their salt tolerance, were measured under laboratory conditions using non-invasive ion flux measuring (the MIFE) technique. These measurements were compared with whole-plant physiological characteristics and yield responses from plants grown under greenhouse conditions. The results show that K+ flux from the root surface of 6-d-old wheat seedlings in response to salt treatment was highly correlated with major plant physiological characteristics and yield of greenhouse-grown plants. This emphasizes the critical role of K+ homeostasis in plant salt tolerance and suggests that using NaCl-induced K+ flux measurements as a physiological 'marker' for salt tolerance may benefit wheat-breeding programmes. © 2008 The Author(s).
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