Differential effects of sodium salts on the germination of a native halophytic species from South America: Prosopis strombulifera (Lam.) Benth

  • Virginia M. Luna
  • Analía S. Llanes
  • Laura R. Sosa
  • Mariana A. Reginato
  • Herminda E. Reinoso
Conference paper


Prosopis strombulifera is a halophytic shrub frequently found in the salinized areas of central Argentina. Interactions between temperature, ionic and osmotic components of salinity, and seed germination in this species are discussed in this chapter. Besides the osmotic effect, specific ion effects of salts play an important role in seed germination causing toxicity to the embryo. In saline soils where P. strombulifera is frequent, NaCl and Na2SO4 proportions are similar. Germination experiments with both salts, their iso-osmotic anionic and cationic mixtures and polyethylene glycol (PEG) were performed at 30°C and 35°C; the germination percentages registered with PEG were lower than those obtained with iso-osmotic Na-based monosaline solutions at osmotic potential (Ψo) of -1.2 MPa and lower, but greater than those in the salt mixtures, indicating that seeds were mainly affected by an osmotic effect rather than by ionic toxicity at 35°C. The salt mixture accentuated ion toxicity showing that germination is inhibited by a combination of osmotic and ionic effects, the latter having greater influence at very high salt concentrations. The excess of Cl- or SO4 2- anions in both cationic mixtures produced equal magnitude of toxicity on the seeds. Although a deleterious effect of potassium was also observed, the anionic effects were evidently much more marked. From Ψo of -1.2 MPa and lower, germination inhibition increased when salt concentration increased as the ionic effects were additive to osmotic effects. The germination percentages obtained with monosaline solutions at 35°C were superior to those obtained at 30°C, indicating that temperature played an important role in the germination response of this species by diminishing the osmotic effect of salt only in the case of monosaline solutions; however, the toxic effect of ions was accentuated when they were combined. Nevertheless, a partial reversion of sulfate toxicity was observed when seeds were placed in anionic salt mixtures at 30°C, demonstrating the differential effects of temperature on the osmotic and ionic components of salinity.


Seed Germination Salt Tolerance Osmotic Potential Osmotic Effect Germination Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Woodell SRJ (1985) Salinity and seed germination patterns in coastal plants. Vegetatio 61: 223–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gulzar S, Khan MA (2001) Seed germination of a halophytic grass Aeluropus lagopoides. Ann Bot 87: 319–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bernstein L (1975) Effect of salinity and sodicity on plant growth. Annu Rev Phytopathol 13: 295–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ghoulam C, Fares K (2001) Effect of salinity on seed germination and early seedling growth of sugar beat (Beta vulgaris L.). Seed Sci Technol 29: 357–364Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    VanHoorn JW (1991) Development of soil salinity during germination and early seedling growth and its effect on several crops. Agric Water Manag 20: 17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Troech FR, Thompson LM (1993) Soil and soil fertility. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brady NC, Weil RR (1996) The nature and properties of soils, 11th edn. Prentice Hall, Simon and Shuster, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Munns R (1993) Physiological processes limiting plant growth in saline soils: Some dogma and hypotheses. Plant Cell Environ 16: 15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ashraf M (1994) Breeding for salinity tolerance in plants. Crit Rev Plant Sci 13: 17–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Breen CM., Everson C, Rogers K (1997) Ecological studies on Sporobolus virginicus (L.) Kunth. with special reference to salinity and inundation. Hydrobiología 54: 135–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Khan MA, Ungar IA (2001) Alleviation of salinity stress and the response to temperature in two seed morphs of Halopyrum mucronatum (Poaceae). Aust J Bot 47: 777–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lombardi T, Fochetti T, Onnis A (1998) Germination of Briza maxima L. Seeds effect of temperature, light, salinity and seed harvesting time. Seed Sci Technol 26: 463–470Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gulzar S, Khan MA, Ungar IA (2001) Effect of salinity and temperature on the germination of hondra setulosa. Seed Sci Technol 29: 21–29Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Onnis A, Miceli P (1975) Puccinellia festucaeformis (Host) Parl.: Dormienza e influenza della salinita sulla germinazione. G Bot Ital 109: 27–37Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rivers WG, Weber DJ (1971) The influence of salinity and temperature on seed germination in Salicornia bigelovii. Physiol Plant 24: 73–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Khan MA (1991) Studies of germination of Cressa cretica L. Seed Pak. J Weed Sci Res 4: 89–98Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Khan MA, Gul B (1998) High salt tolerance in the germinating dimorphic seeds of Arthrocnemun indicum. Int J Plant Sci 159: 826–832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ungar I (1978) Halophyte seed germination. Bot Rev 44: 233–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ungar I (1991) Ecophysiology of vascular halophytes. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Egan TP, Ungar I, Meekins JF (1997) The effect of different salts of sodium and potassium on the germination of Atriplex prostrata (Chenopodiaceae). J Plant Nutr 20: 1723–1730Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Onnis A (1981) Le specie come indicatori ambientali. Estratto da Colloquio su “Inquinq-mento eindicatori biologici, Roma, 3-4 giugno 1980. Collana del programmol/La finalizzato” Promozione delta germinazione in relazione alle variazioni di temperature e salinita del substrato nel periodo estivo-autunnale. G Bot Ital 110: 127–136Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Romo JT, Haferkamp MR (1978) Effects of osmotic potential, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride on germination of Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus). Great Basin Nat 47: 110–116Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Al-Jibury L, Clor M, Talabany D (1986) Effect of certain salts and their combinations on germination and seedling development of Securigera securidaca. Arab Gild J Sci Res 4: 5–11Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Strogonov BP (1969) Physiological basis of salt tolerance of plants. Akad Mauk USSR (translation by Israel Prog. Sci Trans Jerusalem)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hardegree SP, Emmerich WE (1990) Effect of polyethylene glycol exclusion on the water potential of solution-saturated filter paper. Plant Physiol 92: 462–465PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zekri M (1993) Salinity and calcium effects on emergence, growth and mineral composition of seedlings of eight citrus rootstocks. J Hort Sci 68: 53–62Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Tobe K, Zhang L, Omasa K (1999) Effects of NaCl on seed germination of five nonhalo-phytic species from a Chinese desert environment. Seed Sci Technol 27: 851–863Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Burkart A (1976) A monograph of the genus Prosopis (Leguminosae subfamily Mimosoi-deae). Catalogue of the recognized species of Prosopis. J Arnold Arbor Univ 57: 450–523Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Reinoso H, Sosa L, Ramírez L, Luna V (2004) Salt-induced changes in the vegetative anatomy ofProsopis strombulifera (Leguminosae). Can J Bot 82: 618–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Jarrell W, Virginia R (1990) Response of mesquite to nitrate and salinity in a simulated fre-atic environment: Water use, dry matter and mineral nutrient accumulation. Plant Soil 125: 185–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Catalán L, Balzarini M,Taleisnik E, Sereno R, Karlin U (1994) Effects of salinity on germination and seedling growth of Prosopis flexuosa (D.C). Forest Ecol Manag 63: 347–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Cony M, Trione S (1998) Inter-and intraspecific variability in Prosopis flexuosa and P. chilensis: Seed germination under salt and moisture stress. J Arid Environ 40: 307–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    López Villagra G, Galera F (1992) Soil salinity-sodicity effects on germination, survival and development in four populations of Prosopis strombulifera (Lam) Benth (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae). In: RW Dutton (ed): Prosopis species. Aspects of their Value, Research and Development. FAO-UNESCO-IPA, 219–234Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Villagra PE (1997) Germination of Prosopis argentina and P. alpataco seeds under saline conditions. J Arid Environ 37: 261–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sosa L, (2005) Adaptaciones fisiológicas de Prosopis strombulifera a condiciones de salinidad por cloruros y sulfatos. PhD Thesis, Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Córdoba, ArgentinaGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Egan T, Ungar I (1998) Effect of different salts of sodium and potassium on the growth of Atriplex prostrata (Chenopodiaceae). J Plant Nutr 21: 2193–2205Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sosa L, Llanes A, Reinoso H, Reginato M, Luna V (2005) Osmotic and specific ion effects on the germination of Prosopis strombulifera (Lam.) Benth. Ann Bot 96: 261–267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Llanes A, Reinoso H, Luna V (2005) Germination and early growth of Prosopis strombu-lifera seedlings in different saline solutions. World JAgric Sci 1: 120–128Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Arce P, Balboa O (1987) Factores que inciden en la propagación por estacas en Prosopis chilensis. Cien Invest Agr 14: 51–62Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tobe K, Li X, Omasa K (2000) Seed germination and radicle growth of a halophyte, Kalidium capsicum (Chenopodiaceae). Ann Bot 85: 391–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Perez A, Tambelini C (1995) Effect of saline and water stress and early aging on the “Algar-roba” seed germination. Pesq Agropec Bras 30: 1289–1295Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Huang J, Redmann RE (1995) Physiological responses of canola and wild mustard to salinity and contrasting Ca supply. J Plant Nutr 18: 1931–1949Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Redmann R (1974) Osmotic and specific ion effects on the germination of alfalfa. Can J Bot 52: 803–808Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    El-Haddad E, O’Leary J (1994) Effects of salinity and K/Na ratio of irrigation water on growth and solute content of Atriplex amnícola and Sorghum bicolor. J Appl Irrig Sci 14: 127–133Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Kefu, Z, Hai F, Harris P (1995) The physiological basis of growth inhibition of halophytes by potassium. In: MA Khan, IA Ungar (eds): Biology of salt tolerant plants. Department of Botany, University or Karachi, Pakistan. Book Crafters, Chelsea, MI, 221–227Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Todd PE, Ungar I, Forrest Meekins J (1997) The effect of different salts of sodium and potassium on the germination of Atriplex prostrata (Chenopodiaceae). J Plant Nutr 20: 1723–1730Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Poljakoff-Mayber A, Somers GF, Werker E, Gallagher JL (1994) Seeds of Kosteletzkya virginica (Malvaceae): Their structure, germination, and salt tolerance. II. Germination and salt tolerance. Am J Bot 81: 54–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Al-Jibury L, Clor M (1986) Interaction between sodium, calcium and magnesium chlorides affecting germination and seedling growth of Securigera securidaca. Ann Arid Zone 25: 105–111Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Delesalle VA, Blum S (1994) Variation in germination and survival among families of Sagit-taria latifolia in response to salinity and temperature. Int J Plant Sci 155: 187–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Khan MA, Ungar IA (1999) Seed germination and recovery of Triglochin maritima from salt stress under different thermoperiods. Great Basin Nat 59: 144–150Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia M. Luna
    • 1
  • Analía S. Llanes
    • 1
  • Laura R. Sosa
    • 2
  • Mariana A. Reginato
    • 1
  • Herminda E. Reinoso
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Fisiología Vegetal, Departamento de Ciencias NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Río CuartoRío CuartoArgentina
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Fisiología Vegetal, Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y FarmaciaUniversidad Nacional de San LuisSan LuisArgentina

Personalised recommendations