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International Journal of Botany
Year: 2007  |  Volume: 3  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 78 - 84

Effects of Salinity on Growth and Photosynthesis of Avocado Seedlings

D.M. Musyimi, G.W. Netondo and G. Ouma    

Abstract: This study was conducted to investigate growth and gas exchange characteristics of avocado seedlings growing under different salinity levels under naturally illuminated greenhouse conditions, in order to relate this physiological information to the ecology of this avocado cultivar. Plants grown in 4.5 L plastic pots containing soil were subjected to 0 (control), 15, 30, 45 and 60 mM NaCl salinity treatments. The measured parameters started to show significant differences (p≤0.05) by day 7. Interactions between salt treatments and duration of salt exposure were highly significant at p≤0.05. Net photosynthetic rate (PN), stomatal conductance (gs), transpiration rate (E) and chlorophyll (chl) concentration decreased in response to increasing salt concentration in the growth medium. Water use efficiency (WUE) decreased in all the treatments during the time course of experiment. Substomatal CO2 concentration (Ci) and chloride ions content increased with increasing salt concentration of the growth medium. It is suggested that the greater inhibition of CO2 fixation may be due to impairment of photosynthetic apparatus. Treatment consisting of 60 mM NaCl caused maximum growth reductions. The findings in this study demonstrate that NaCl salinity hampers growth and gas exchange processes of avocado plants and improvement in salt resistance of avocado rootstock under study is more likely to come from increasing further screening of more avocado rootstocks for salt tolerance or resistance.

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