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Salinity increases CO2 assimilation but reduces growth in field-grown, irrigated rice

Asch F., Dingkuhn M., Dorffling K.. 2000. Plant and Soil, 218 : p. 1-10.

Salinity is a major yield-reducing factor in coastal and arid, irrigated rice production systems. Salt tolerance is a major breeding objective. Three rice cultivars with different levels of salt tolerance were studied in the field for growth, sodium uptake, leaf chlorophyll content, specific leaf area (SLA), sodium concentration and leaf C02 exchange rates (CER) at photosynthetic active radiation (PAR)-saturation. Plants were grown in Ndiaye, Senegal, at a research station of the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), during the hot dry season (HDS) and the wet season (WS) 1994 under irrigation with fresh or saline water (flood water electrical conductivity = 3.5 mS cm-¹). Relative leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD method) and root, stem, leaf blade and panicle dry weight were measured at weekly intervals throughout both seasons. Specific leaf area was measured on eight dates, and CER and leaf sodium content were measured at mid-season on the first (topmost) and second leaf. Salinity reduced yields to nearly zero and dry-matter accumulation by 90% for the susceptible cultivar in the HDS, but increased leaf chlorophyll content and CER at PAR- saturation. The increase in CER, which was also observed in the other cultivars and seasons, was explained by a combination of two hypotheses: leaf chlorophyll content was limited by the available N resources in controls, but not in salt-stressed plants; and the sodium concentrations were not high enough to cause early leaf senescence and chlorophyll degradation. The growth reductions were attributed to loss of assimilates (mechanisms unknown) that must have occurred after export from the sites of assimilation. The apparent, recurrent losses of assimilates, which were between 8% and 49% according to simulation with the crop model for potential yields in irrigated rice, ORYZA S, might be partly due to root decomposition and exudation. Possibly more importantly, energy-consuming processes, such as osmoregulation, interception of sodium and potassium from the transpiration stream in leaf sheaths and their subsequent storage, drained the assimilate supply. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : photosynthèse; variété; rendement des cultures; taux de croissance; tolérance au sel; eau d'irrigation; salinité; oryza sativa; sénégal

Thématique : Troubles divers des plantes; Physiologie végétale : nutrition; Irrigation

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