Co-occurrence of mild salinity and drought synergistically enhances biomass and grain retardation in wheat

Kenny Paul, János Pauk, Ankica Kondic-Spika, Heinrich Grausgruber, Tofig Allahverdiyev, László Sass, Imre Vass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the present study we analyzed the responses of wheat to mild salinity and drought with special emphasis on the so far unclarified interaction of these important stress factors by using high-throughput phenotyping approaches. Measurements were performed on 14 genotypes of different geographic origin (Austria, Azerbaijan, and Serbia). The data obtained by non-invasive digital RGB imaging of leaf/shoot area reflect well the differences in total biomass measured at the end of the cultivation period demonstrating that leaf/shoot imaging can be reliably used to predict biomass differences among different cultivars and stress conditions. On the other hand, the leaf/shoot area has only a limited potential to predict grain yield. Comparison of gas exchange parameters with biomass accumulation showed that suppression of CO2 fixation due to stomatal closure is the principal cause behind decreased biomass accumulation under drought, salt and drought plus salt stresses. Correlation between grain yield and dry biomass is tighter when salt- and drought stress occur simultaneously than in the well-watered control, or in the presence of only salinity or drought, showing that natural variation of biomass partitioning to grains is suppressed by severe stress conditions. Comparison of yield data show that higher biomass and grain yield can be expected under salt (and salt plus drought) stress from those cultivars which have high yield parameters when exposed to drought stress alone. However, relative yield tolerance under drought stress is not a good indicator of yield tolerance under salt (and salt plus drought) drought stress. Harvest index of the studied cultivars ranged between 0.38 and 0.57 under well watered conditions and decreased only to a small extent (0.37–0.55) even when total biomass was decreased by 90% under the combined salt plus drought stress. It is concluded that the co-occurrence of mild salinity and drought can induce large biomass and grain yield losses in wheat due to synergistic interaction of these important stress factors. We could also identify wheat cultivars, which show high yield parameters under the combined effects of salinity and drought demonstrating the potential of complex plant phenotyping in breeding for drought and salinity stress tolerance in crop plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number501
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 16 2019

Keywords

  • Drought stress
  • High throughput phenotyping
  • Interaction of drought and salt stress
  • Salt stress
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Co-occurrence of mild salinity and drought synergistically enhances biomass and grain retardation in wheat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this