Comparison of salinity tolerance of two related subspecies of Beta vulgaris: The sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima) and the sugar beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris)

  • Salma Daoud
  • Chérif Harrouni
  • Bernard Huchzermeyer
  • Hans-Werner Koyro


Sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima), which has a real potential to become a cash crop halophyte in the Mediterranean region, and sugar beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris), were studied with the aim of investigating the physiological mechanisms involved in these species to overcome high salinity. Four-week-old plants of the two species were grown for 7 weeks under greenhouse conditions in an automated culture system “quick check system” irrigated with tap water (control) and four seawater concentrations (25%; 50%; 75% and 100% seawater).The five treatments were fertilized with half Hoagland nutrient solution. Plants of the two species had 100% survival in all treatments with optimal growth in the low salinity treatment (25% seawater). Salinity tolerance of the two beets is related to their ability to accomplish osmotic adjustment by regulating their ion and water uptake from the culture medium. To avoid toxicity due to excess ion accumulation, the two species adjust their osmotic potential by accumulating large amounts of ions, especially Na and Cl, in shoot vacuoles and by the synthesis of compatible solutes in the cell cytoplasm. The reduction of stomatal conductance and transpiration participates in maintaining the level of leaf turgescence, and this may contribute to a long-term survival in saline environments. The high level of photosynthesis of the beets in high saline conditions shows that the reduction of growth in these conditions is not the consequence of photosynthesis reduction but of ion toxicity.


Salt Tolerance Stomatal Conductance Adventitious Root Salinity Tolerance Osmotic Adjustment 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salma Daoud
    • 1
  • Chérif Harrouni
    • 2
  • Bernard Huchzermeyer
    • 3
  • Hans-Werner Koyro
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculté des SciencesUniversité Ibn ZohrAgadirMorocco
  2. 2.Inst.Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan IICompl. Horticole d’AgadirAgadirMorocco
  3. 3.Institute for BotanyUniversity of HanoverHanoverGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Plant EcologyJustus-Liebig-University GiessenGiessenGermany

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