Garcia MR, Bernet GP, Puchades J, Gomez I, Carbonell EA, Asins MJ
Reliable and easy screening technique for salt tolerance of citrus rootstocks under controlled environments
Australian Journal of Agricultural Research: 2002 53:653-662
Three salt tolerance experiments using 5 common citrus rootstocks were carried out to find a reliable and easy screening technique for salt tolerance in breeding programs. The experiments were: (1) in vitro seed culture where salt tolerance was mainly evaluated as germination percentage, (2) hydroponic culture of 2-month-old seedlings where salt tolerance was mainly evaluated as survival percentage, and (3) hydroponic culture of satsuma-rootstock combinations where salt tolerance was evaluated by leaf and fruit characters. Treatments were: 4 mM K2CO3 and 0-100 mM NaCl in Expt 1, 3.5 mM K2CO3 and 0-50 mM NaCl, with and without K2CO3, in Expt 2, and 25 mM NaCl in Expt 3. Volkamer lemon was the most salt-sensitive genotype during seed germination (Expt 1), whereas Troyer citrange was the most sensitive when used as rootstock of satsuma (Expt 3). For seedling survival (Expt 2), the trifoliate orange variety Flying dragon showed the highest survival percentage, and chloride content of satsuma leaves and fruit juice were high on this rootstock under salinity (Expt 3). Alkalinity (pH = 8.5) greatly affected seedling survival of Cleopatra mandarin and Volkamer lemon (Expt 2), probably due to major disturbances in seedling nutrition. Analysis of trait values for the rootstocks in the different saline treatments in both the in vitro germination and the seedling survival experiments revealed some significant changes compared with control conditions. Most of these changes were not consistent between genotypes, except for chloride concentration in both shoot ([Cl](s)) and root ([Cl](r)). The ordering of genotypes for salt tolerance found in the literature, which corresponds to the ordering as chloride excluders in our satsuma Expt 3, agrees with the inverse ordering of genotypes regarding the increment of both [Cl](s) and the ratio [Cl](s)/[Cl](r) from control to low salinity, but does not agree with salt tolerance measured as a percentage of germination or seedling survival. The increments of both [Cl](s) and the ratio [Cl](s)/[Cl](r) from control to low salinity are suggested as criteria for early selection of salt-tolerant citrus rootstocks. Three salt tolerance mechanisms have been observed: chloride exclusion, water saving, and accumulation of soluble solids. They all seem to be presented by Cleopatra mandarin when used as rootstock, supporting its utilisation as donor of salt tolerance in breeding programs of citrus rootstocks.
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