A comparison of screening criteria for salt tolerance in wheat under field and controlled environmental conditions

S. E. El-Hendawy, Y. Ruan, Y. Hu, U. Schmidhalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although many screening criteria have been suggested to distinguish between genotypes for their salt tolerance under controlled environmental conditions, there is a need to test these criteria in the field. Saline soils are often complex and, therefore, unlikely to show a simple relationship to controlled conditions. To address this deficit, different agronomic and physiological screening criteria for salt tolerance in wheat at different stages were examined under both field and controlled conditions. Four wheat genotypes differing in their salt-tolerance levels were grown in salt-affected soil at two different locations and also under greenhouse conditions. Dry weight and leaf area of the upper and lower two leaves of the main stem and total dry weight at Zadoks scale 47 were measured in plants grown under field conditions. The concentrations of Cl-, Na+, K+ and Ca2+ in the upper and lower two leaves of the main stem at Zadoks scale 47 and different yield components were measured in plants grown under both conditions. Our results indicate that measurements derived from the upper two leaves of the main stem were generally more effective as screening criteria than those from the lower two leaves. Correlation coefficients between grain yield and either dry weight or leaf area of the upper two leaves of the main stem indicated that dry weight is inferior to leaf area as a screening criterion under field conditions. Number of sterile spikelets per plant performed well under both conditions, whereas the number of spikelets per plant and 1000-grain weight failed to distinguish the differences of salt-tolerance levels among genotypes accurately. Weight and number of grains per plant and number of fertile spikes per plant were poor criteria under controlled conditions, but effective under field conditions. The maintenance of low Cl- and Na+ concentrations in the upper two leaves offered the best guide to salt tolerance under both conditions. Potassium concentration was a poor criterion compared with the selectivity of K+ over Na+, which was useful under both field and controlled conditions. Calcium concentration and Ca2+ over Na + selectivity in the upper andor lower two leaves of the main stem were also effective in ranking genotypes according to their salt tolerance under both field and controlled conditions. Therefore, we conclude that simple measurements of the upper two leaves of the main stem including a straightforward measurement of leaf area, visually estimating the number of sterile spikelets, and a quick, practical determination of Na+ and Ca2+ concentration constitute effective criteria to screen wheat genotypes for salt tolerance under both field and controlled conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-367
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agronomy and Crop Science
Volume195
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Keywords

  • Agronomic traits
  • Field conditions
  • Physiological traits
  • Saline soils
  • Screening

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