Effects of Various Mixed Salt-Alkaline Stress Conditions on Seed Germination and Early Seedling Growth of Leymus chinensis from Songnen Grassland of China
AbstractSoil salinization and alkalization always co-occur in grassland ecosystem, but little information exists concerning the mixed effects of salt-alkaline stresses on plants.Leymus chinensis is considered as one of the most promising grass species in Songnen Grassland of Northern China. In this study, we investigated the effects of 30 mixed salt-alkaline conditions (NaCl, Na2SO4, NaHCO3 and Na2CO3; pH 7.10-10.18 and salinity 50-250 mM) on seed germination and seedling growth of L. chinensis. The results showed that germination percentage and rate were both decreased with increasing salinity and pH. Nongerminated seeds germinated well after being transferred to distilled water from treatment groups. Shoot and radicle growth were also affacted by salinity, pH and their interactions. However, radicle length decreased more markedly with increasing salinity and pH, and was strongly inhibited when pH reached 8.05. Stepwise regression analysis results showed that salinity was the dominant factor for seed germination under mixed salt-alkaline stress conditions. However, once radicle break through the seed coat, and pH changed into the dominant factor for seedling establishment. These results indicated that mixed salt-alkaline stresses had different impacts on germination and early seedling stages of L. chinensis. A better understanding of the germination and seedling processes should facilitate the effective utilization of this species under such complex environment.
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