Strategies to Alleviate Salinity Stress in Plants

  • Sara Francisco Costa
  • Davide Martins
  • Monika Agacka-Mołdoch
  • Anna Czubacka
  • Susana de Sousa Araújo


Soil salinization is a major threat to agriculture in arid and semiarid regions. Besides the identification and use of salt-adapted species or cultivars in saline areas, the use of treatments to alleviate the effects of salinity stress is a promising solution to ensure crop production in such adverse conditions. Chemical, biological, and physical treatments are being successfully applied to seeds, seedlings, or plants before exposure to salinity stress. These treatments activate physiological and molecular pathways enabling the seed or plant to respond more quickly and/or more vigorously after exposure to salinity. Coupled to this, agricultural management practices have also contributed to mitigation of the effects of excessive salt accumulation in the soil. The acquired fundamental knowledge about how a plant reacts to high salt concentrations has been essential for the development of educated and applied strategies for salinity alleviation. In this chapter, we provide a general overview of the main strategies applied to alleviate salinity effects in plants, with a critical discussion of the main achievements described in this field.


Abiotic stresses Alleviation strategies Biological treatments Chemical treatments Crops Field management practices Halopriming Ionizing radiation Magnetic field Osmopriming Physical treatments Plant growth–promoting rhizobacteria Rhizospheric fungi Salinity 



Abscisic acid


1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi


Ascorbate peroxidase


β-Aminobutyric acid


Calcium chloride




Copper sulfate


Electrical conductivity


Electromagnetic field




Food and Agriculture Organization


Gibberellic acid


Hydrogen peroxide


Hydrogen sulfide


Indoleacetic acid






Tripotassium phosphate


Potassium chloride


Monopotassium phosphate


Potassium nitrate


Potassium hydroxide




Magnetic field


Magnesium sulfate




Sodium chloride


National Center for Biotechnology Information


Nitric oxide




Nanosilicon particles


Nanosilicon dioxide particles


Superoxide radical


Hydroxyl radical


Pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase


Pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase


Polyethylene glycol


Plant growth–promoting bacteria


Plant growth–promoting rhizobacteria






Quantitative trait locus


Reactive oxygen–nitrogen–sulfur species


Reactive oxygen species


Salicylic acid


Static magnetic field


Sodium nitroprusside


Superoxide dismutase






Ultraviolet radiation


Zinc sulfate



Financial support from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Lisbon, Portugal) is acknowledged through the research unit “GREEN-it: Bioresources for Sustainability” (UID/Multi/04551/2013), a SSA postdoctoral grant (SFRH/BPD/108032/2015), a DM Plants for Life PhD grant (PD/BD/128498/2017), and a SFC research fellowship in the scope of the FCT project (PTDC/AGR-PRO/4261/2014).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Francisco Costa
    • 1
  • Davide Martins
    • 2
  • Monika Agacka-Mołdoch
    • 3
  • Anna Czubacka
    • 3
  • Susana de Sousa Araújo
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Plant Cell Biotechnology Laboratory, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier (ITQB NOVA)OeirasPortugal
  2. 2.Genetics and Genomics of Plant Complex Traits Laboratory, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier (ITQB NOVA)OeirasPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Plant Breeding and BiotechnologyInstitute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation—State Research InstitutePuławyPoland
  4. 4.Plant Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Biotechnology ‘L. Spallanzani’Università degli Studi di PaviaPaviaItaly

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