Morphological factors determining salt tolerance in citrus seedlings: the shoot to root ratio modulates passive root uptake of chloride ions and their accumulation in leaves
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The results presented in this work were obtained with two citrus genotypes, the chloride-tolerant Cleopatra mandarin (Citrus reshni Hort. ex Tan.) and the chloride-sensitive Carrizo citrange [Citrus sinensis (L,) Osb, x Poncirus trifoliata (L,) Raf.]. The data show that chloride uptake under salinization is driven by passive forces. In both species, net rates of chloride root uptake increased linearly, without saturation, with the increase of external NaCl concentrations (30-240 mol m(-3)). Uptake rates, on a mu g g root dry weight(-1) h(-1) basis, in Cleopatra and Carrizo decreased (from 38 to 21) and increased (from 21 to 35), respectively, with the increase (about three-fold) of the shoot to root ratio. With the appropriate shoot to root ratio in each genotype, it was demonstrated that at identical external doses of NaCl, Cl- uptake rates and Cl- xylem concentrations in the two species were very similar. Root pruning and defoliation showed that the amount of chloride taken by the plant was a function of the size of the root system, whereas leaf chloride concentration, the parameter responsible for salt damage, was dependent upon leaf biomass, Measurements of water transpiration suggested that chloride roof uptake and leaf accumulation might be linked to water absorption and transpiration rates, respectively, The data indicate that plant morphology is a crucial factor determining salt-tolerance in citrus.