Physiological characterization of a pepper hybrid rootstock designed to cope with salinity stress
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AuthorLópez-Serrano, Lidia; Canet-Sanchis, Guillermo; Vuletin Selak, Gabriela; Penella, Consuelo; San Bautista, Alberto; López-Galarza, Salvador; Calatayud, Ángeles
Cita bibliográficaLópez-Serrano, L., Canet-Sanchis, G., Selak, G. V., Penella, C., San Bautista, A., López-Galarza, S., & Calatayud, Á. (2020). Physiological characterization of a pepper hybrid rootstock designed to cope with salinity stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 148, 207-219
In pepper crops, rootstocks that tolerate salt stress are not used because available commercial rootstocks offer limited profits. In this context, we obtained the hybrid NIBER®, a new salinity-tolerant rootstock that has been tested under real salinity field conditions for 3 years with 32%–80% higher yields than ungrafted pepper plants. This study aimed to set up the initial mechanisms involved in the salinity tolerance of grafted pepper plants using NIBER® as a rootstock to study root-shoot behavior, a basic requirement to develop efficient rootstocks. Gas exchange, Na+/K+, antioxidant capacity, nitrate reductase activity, ABA, proline, H2O2, phenols, MDA concentration and biomass were measured in ungrafted plants of cultivar Adige (A), self-grafted (A/A), grafted onto NIBER® (A/N) and reciprocal grafted plants (N/A), all exposed to 0 mM and 70 mM NaCl over a 10-day period. Salinity significantly and quickly decreased photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and nitrate reductase activity, but to lower extent in A/N plants compared to A, A/A and N/A. A/N plants showed decreases in the Na+/K+ ratio, ABA content and lipid peroxidation activity. This oxidative damage alleviation in A/N was probably due to an enhanced H2O2 level that activates antioxidant capacity to cope salinity stress, and acts as a signal molecule rather than a damaging one by contributing a major increase in phenols and, to a lesser extent, in proline concentration. These traits led to a minor impact on biomass in A/N plants under salinity conditions. Only the plants with the NIBER® rootstock controlled the scion by modulating responses to salinity.