Abscisic acid reduces leaf abscission and increases salt tolerance in citrus plants
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This paper describes the physiological effects of abscisic acid (ABA) and 100 mM NaCl on citrus plants. Water potential, leaf abscission, ethylene production, photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, and chloride accumulation in roots and leaves were measured in plants of Salustiana scion [Citrus sinensis (L) Osbeck] grafted onto Carrizo citrange (Citrus sinensis [L.] Osbeck x Poncirus trifoliata [L.] Raf) rootstock. Plants under salt stress accumulated high amounts of chloride, increased ethylene production, and induced leaf abscission. Stomatal conductance and photosynthetic rates rapidly dropped after salinization. The addition of 10 muM ABA to the nutrient solution 10 days before the exposure to salt stress reduced ethylene release and leaf abscission. These effects were probably due to a decrease in the accumulation of toxic Cl- ions in leaves. In non-salinized plants, ABA reduced stomatal conductance and CO2 assimilation, whereas in salinized plants the treatment slightly increased these two parameters. The results suggest a protective role for ABA in citrus under salinity.