Subscribe Now Subscribe Today
Research Article

Effects of Salt Stress on Yield, Yield Components and Carbohydrates Content in Four Hullless Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Cultivars

A. Bagheri and O. Sadeghipour
Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit Linkedin StumbleUpon E-mail

In order to evaluate the effects of salinity on some traits of barley, Four hullless barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivars (Namely, UH3, UHM7, EHM81-12 and CM67) were grown in research station of Islamic Azad University of Eghlid in Iran, under salt stress in two years (2006 and 2007). Four salinity treatments (1, 5, 10 and 15 dS m-1) were used. The experimental design was a split plot which salt treatments were arranged as main plots and cultivars as subplots, based on a randomized complete block design with three replications. The measured parameters were yield and its components, mono, poly and disaccharides content in flag leaves. Results showed that grain yield, biological yield, harvest index, grain per ear, grain weight and plant height were reduced significantly by salt stress. In all treatments of salinity, CM67 cultivar produced the highest and UH3 cultivar produced the lowest grain and biological yield. In all cultivars, salinity stress decreased starch content but increased sucrose content. In high level of salinity, CM67 cultivar had the highest sucrose content (100.20 mg g-1) in comparison with other cultivars. Thus, this cultivar had the highest tolerance to salt stress than the others and is suitable for cultivation in salinity conditions.

Related Articles in ASCI
Search in Google Scholar
View Citation
Report Citation

  How to cite this article:

A. Bagheri and O. Sadeghipour, 2009. Effects of Salt Stress on Yield, Yield Components and Carbohydrates Content in Four Hullless Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Cultivars. Journal of Biological Sciences, 9: 909-912.

DOI: 10.3923/jbs.2009.909.912



Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is potentially useful grain for different purposes. Due to its high soluble fiber content and nutritional significance, it has become a desirable grain for human consumption, especially hullless varieties with high β-glucan content (Bhatty, 1999). There are vast numbers of barley varieties with significant differences in drought and salt stress tolerances. Soil salinization is one of the major factors of the soil degradation. It has reached 19.5% of the irrigated land and 2.1% of the dry-land agriculture existing on the globe. Salinity effects are more conspicuous in arid and semi-arid areas where 25% of the irrigated land is affected by salts (Bhatty, 1999). The increase of salt-affected soils due to poor soil and water management in the irrigated areas, the salinity problem became of great importance for agriculture production in this region (Khosravinejad et al., 2009). Soil salinity sometimes is a key factor in determining the ecological distribution of drought-adapted species (Kerepesi and Galiba, 2000). Salinity inhibition of plant growth is the result of osmotic and ionic effects and the different plant species have developed different mechanisms to cope with these effects (Munns, 2002). Plants resort many adaptive strategies in response to abiotic environmental stresses such as salinity. Among them, the accumulation of compatible solutes according to the metabolic responses has drawn much attention (Khosravinejad et al., 2009). During the course of salt stress, accumulation of compatible solutes such as amino acids, polyamines and carbohydrates is claimed to be an effective stress tolerance mechanism (Greenway and Munns, 1980).

Carbohydrates changes are of particular importance because of their direct relationship with physiological processes as photosynthesis, translocation and respiration. Among the soluble carbohydrates, sucrose and fructan have potential role in adaptation to stresses (Keles and Öncel, 2004). Sucrose prevents structural changes in soluble proteins and membrane. Glucose acts in respiration and cross-linking with proteins in millard reaction. Fructan is not only a reserve carbohydrate, but also it is considered to play a role key in stress induced metabolic processes (Kerepesi and Galiba, 2000). Salinity cause losses in grain yield (Basu and Nautiyal, 2004). Salinity can reduce number of ear and number of grain per ear (Ozturk and Aydin, 2004). Santamaria et al. (1990) demonstrated that severe salinity may cause reduction of grain weight. Negative effect of salinity was found on cell enlargement and growth (James et al., 2002). Osmotic adjustment is a fundamental adaptive response to plant cell which are exposed to salinity. Organic solutes like carbohydrates can play an important role in balancing osmotic pressure in cytoplasm (Keles and Öncel, 2004). The main objectives of this study are to evaluate the effects of salinity stress on carbohydrates changes and yield of four hullless barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivars.


Experiment was conducted at the Islamic Azad University of Eghlid (34°7 ’ N, 59°3 ’ E and asl 2183 m), in Eghlid, Iran, during 2006 and 2007. Soil structure of experimental site’s was clay loam which consisted of 60% sand, 37% clay and 3% silt. The meteorological data have been shown in Table 1 (Anonymous, 2008). The experiment was laid out in a split ploton the basis of complete block design with four replications that placed different irrigation water salinity (1, 5, 10 and 15 dS m-1) in the main plots and four hullless barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivars (UH3, UHM7, EHM81-12 and CM67) in sub plots. These cultivars are six-rowed, autumn-type and hullless. Each plot consisted of 10 rows spaced at 0.2 and 4 m long. Seeds were sown with 3 cm distance on rows. Saline treatments were started on 20 days after emergence.

The saline solution was made up of NaCl and H2O which mixed in appropriate tank and concentration requited for each salinity level were calculated and added to water (Alshammary et al., 2008). Irrigation was carried out when the soil moisture content reach to 90% of FC. Crop management practices were done as required. For yield and yield components measurements, plants were harvested from the 0.25 m2 area in the middle of each plot. Number of ear plant-1, grain ear-1 and ear m¯2 were measured. After oven drying at 75 °C for 48 h, biological and grain dry weight were measured. The protein content was estimated by Kjeldhal method (AOAC, 1984). Water-soluble carbohydrates content at anthesis (Zadoks 65) were quantified in 80% ethanol extracts of stem and leaf tissues according to the method of demonstrated by Keles and Öncel (2004). A sample of 0.1 g of freeze-dried flag leaf was shaken in 10 mL 80% (v/V) ethanol. The insoluble fraction was washed with 5 mL of 80% ethanol. All soluble fractions were centrifuged at 5000 g for 10 min.

The supernatants were collected and stored at 4°C. Glucose was analyzed by reacting 0.5 mL extract with 2.5 mL fleshy prepared anthrone (150 mg anthrone+100 mL H2SO4) and placed in a boiling water bath for 5 min (Keles and Öncel, 2004). After cooling the absorbance at 625 nm was determined with spectrophotometer (RF-15LL, Electronical industry Ltd., Iran).

Table 1:

Meteorological data of the Eghlid in 2006 and 2007*

Image for - Effects of Salt Stress on Yield, Yield Components and Carbohydrates Content in Four Hullless Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Cultivars

*Anonymous (2008)

For sucrose measurement, samples were hydrolyzed by boiling in 50 g kg-1 HCl for 60 min. Sucrose was measured by sucrose kit. For fructan, the sample was placed in water bath at 40°C for 30 min fructan was measured by light absorption at 600 nm (Keles and Öncel, 2004). All obtained data were analyzed by MSTAT-C statistical software and the means were compared by Duncan,s Multiple Range Test at the 5% probability level (Steel and Torrie, 1980).


There weren’t any significant differences in all measured traits between two experimental years, so the data are average of two years. There were significant differences (p≤0.01) between cultivars in biological yield, grain yield, harvest index, grain per ear, ear length, grain weight, plant height and protein content (Table 2). Salt stress decreased above traits except protein content. In all treatments, especially in highest level of salinity, CM67 cultivar, showed the highest biological yield (2.547 g Plant-1), grain yield (0.493 g Plant-1), harvest index (%20.82), grain ear-1 (14.27) and ear length (11.91 cm). The lowest grain yield (0.203 g plant-1) was obtained In EC = 15 dS m-1 by UH3 cultivar (Table 2). In all cultivars, salinity stress decreased starch content but increased sucrose content. There was higher starch content in UH3 cultivar in comparison with others (562.3 mg g-1 in EC = 1 dS m-1 and 488.3 mg g-1 in EC = 15 dS m-1). In CM67 cultivar, sucrose content in EC=15 dS m-1 was higher than other cultivars (100.2 mg g-1). Fructan level increased primarily when the salinity level increased to moderate level (10 dS m-1) and it decreased in high salinity (EC = 15 dS m-1). Glucose content was not affected by salinity (Table 3).

Biomass measurement is the best factor for evaluating stress tolerance in crops (Munns et al., 2000). Biomass reduction is related to number of tillers, plant height and leaf area reduction (Chen et al., 2007). In present experiment, salinity decreased biomass production in all cultivars. Similar result was reported by Razzaque et al. (2009). Munns (2002) stated that suppression of plant growth under saline conditions may either be due to decreasing the availability to water or increasing in sodium chloride toxicity associated with increasing salinity. Asch et al. (2000) reported that the salt tolerant genotype had the smallest reduction in dry matter and the susceptible genotype had the greatest reduction in dry matter.

Table 2:

Effect of salinity on yield and yield components and protein content of four hull-less barley genotypes

Image for - Effects of Salt Stress on Yield, Yield Components and Carbohydrates Content in Four Hullless Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Cultivars
Means with the same letter in each column and treatment are not significantly different at probability level of 5% using DMRT. S: Salinity, BY: Biological yield, GY: Grain yield, HI: Harvest index, EL: Ear length, 1000 GW: 1000 Grains weight, PH: Plant height, P: Protein

Table 3:

Effect of salinity on carbohydrate content of four hull-less barley genotypes

Image for - Effects of Salt Stress on Yield, Yield Components and Carbohydrates Content in Four Hullless Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Cultivars
Means with the same letter in each column and treatment are not significantly different at probability level of 5% using DMRT

Grain production potential is determined before anthesis (Pervaiz et al., 2002). In this period in current experiment plants grew under saline conditions, so grain yield reduction was possible. These results about crop yield reduction under salinity are consistent with previous findings (Taffouo et al., 2009; Sohrabi et al., 2008). Salt stress decreased grain number. Sohrabi et al. (2008) also reported similar result. Salinity caused reduction in grain weight. This result was the same as results of Sohrabi et al. (2008) and Taffouo et al. (2009). Grain weight reduction was related to injury in translocation system because of high concentrations of saline ions. However, Zeng et al. (2000) reported few differences for grain weight in rice (Oryza sativa L.) genotypes in salinity conditions, so severity of salt stress effect on grain weight is related to plant genus and genotype. Salinity increased sucrose content. It was confirmed the results of Hasegawa et al. (2000) and Ingram and Bartels (1996). Sucrose is accumulated in many plant tissues in response to environmental stress, including salinity for playing an osmoregulation role and cryoprotection (Balibrea et al., 1997). Biochemical studies have shown that plants under salinity stress accumulate number of metabolites, which are termed compatible solutes because they do not interfere with biochemical reactions. These metabolites include carbohydrates, such as manitol, sucrose and raffinose oligosaccharides and nitrogen compounds, such as amino acids and polyamines (Bohnert et al., 1995). Khosravinejad et al. (2009) found that soluble sugar and proline contents were increased in two barley varieties in response to increased salt concentration, but this increase was different in varieties. Glucose content was not affected by salinity. The result of current study showed that although there wasn't any liable change in glucose and fructan level, total water soluble sugars were increased affected by salinity. Relative constant level of glucose in salinity conditions may relate to the role of glucose in respiration. It means that, released glucose from starch break down, consume in respiratory reactions. This should be experimented.


The results of this study showed that grain yield, biological yield, harvest index, grain per ear, grain weight and plant height were reduced significantly by salt stress in four barley cultivars. Also, sucrose content of barley cultivars might play crucial role in the tolerance to the salt stress. Among the cultivars, CM67 had the best accumulate compatible solutes such as sucrose in high levels salinity, so was more tolerance to the salt stress than the others.


1:  Alshammary, S.F., G. Hussain and Y.L. Qian, 2008. Response of four warm-season grasses to saline irrigation water under arid climate. Asian J. Plant Sci., 7: 619-627.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

2:  Anonymous, 2008. Iran meteorological organization (IMO).

3:  AOAC., 1984. Official Methods of Analysis. 14th Edn., Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Washington, DC., USA., pp: 522-533

4:  Asch, F., M. Dingkuhn and K. Doerffling, 2000. Salinity increases CO2 assimilation but reduces growth in field-grown, irrigated rice. Plant Soil, 218: 1-10.
Direct Link  |  

5:  Balibrea, M.E., A.M. Rus-Alvarez, M.C. Bolarin and F. Perez-Alfocea, 1997. Fast changes in soluble carbohydrate and proline contents in tomato seedlings in response to ionic and non-ionic iso-osmotic stress. J. Plant Physiol., 151: 221-226.

6:  Basu, M.S. and P.C. Nautiyal, 2004. Improving water use efficiency and drought tolerance in groundnut by trait based breeding in India. Proceedings of the 4th International Crop Science Congress, Brisbane, Australia, Sept. 26-Oct. 1, 2004.

7:  Bohnert, H.J., D.E. Nelson and R.G. Jensen, 1995. Adaptations to environmental stresses. Plant Cell., 7: 1099-1111.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

8:  Chen, Z., T.A. Cuin, M. Zhou, A. Twomey, P.N. Bodapati and S.N. Shabala, 2007. Compatible solute accumulation and stress-mitigating effects in barley genotypes contrasting in their salt tolerance. J. Exp. Bot., 58: 4245-4255.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

9:  Greenway, H. and R. Munns, 1980. Mechanisms of salt tolerance in nonhalophytes. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol., 31: 149-190.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

10:  Hasegawa, P.M., R.A. Bressan, J.K. Zhu and H.J. Bohnert, 2000. Plant cellular and molecular responses to high salinity. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol., 51: 463-499.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

11:  Ingram, J. and D. Bartels, 1996. The molecular basis of dehydration tolerance in plants. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol., 47: 377-403.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  

12:  James, R.A., A.R. Rivelli, R. Munns and S. von Caemmerer, 2002. Factors affecting CO2 assimilation, leaf injury and growth in salt-stressed durum wheat. Functional Plant Biol., 29: 1393-1403.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

13:  Keles, Y. and I. Oncel, 2004. Growth and solute composition in two wheat species experiencing combined influence of stress conditions. Russian J. Plant Physiol., 51: 203-209.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

14:  Kerepesi, I. and G. Galiba, 2000. Osmotic and salt stress-induced alteration in soluble carbohydrate content in wheat seedlings. Crop Sci., 40: 482-487.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

15:  Khosravinejad, F., R. Heydari and T. Farboodnia, 2009. Effect of salinity on organic solutes contents in barley. Pak. J. Biol. Sci., 12: 158-162.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

16:  Santamaria, J.M., M.M. Ludlow and S. Fukai, 1990. Contribution of osmotic adjustment to grain yields in sorghum under water-limited conditionswater stress before anthesis. Aust. J. Agric. Res., 41: 51-65.
CrossRef  |  

17:  Munns, R., 2002. Comparative physiology of salt and water stress. Plant Cell Environ., 25: 239-250.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

18:  Munns, R., R.A. Hare, R.A. James and G.J. Rebetzke, 2000. Genetic variation for improving the salt tolerance of durum wheat. Aust. J. Agric. Res., 51: 69-74.
Direct Link  |  

19:  Ozturk, A. and F. Aydin, 2004. Effect of water stress at various growth stages on some quality characteristics of winter wheat. J. Agron. Crop Sci., 190: 93-99.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

20:  Pervaiz, Z., M. Afzal, S. Xi, Y. Xiaoe and L. Ancheng, 2002. Physiological parameters of salt tolerance in wheat. Asian J. Plant Sci., 1: 478-481.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

21:  Razzaque, M.A., N.M. Talukder, M.S. Islam, A.K. Bhadra and R.K. Dutta, 2009. The effect of salinity on morphological characteristics of seven rice (Oryza sativa) genotypes differing in salt tolerance. Pak. J. Biol. Sci., 12: 406-412.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

22:  Sohrabi, Y., G. Heidari and B. Esmailpoor, 2008. Effect of salinity on growth and yield of desi and kabuli chickpea cultivars. Pak. J. Biol. Sci., 11: 664-667.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

23:  Steel, R.G.D. and J.H. Torrie, 1980. Principles and Procedures of Statistics: A Biometrical Approach. 2nd Edn., McGraw Hill Book Co., New York, USA., ISBN-13: 9780070609266, Pages: 633
Direct Link  |  

24:  Taffouo, V.D., J.K. Kouamou, L.M.T. Ngalangue, B.A.N. Ndjeudji and A. Akoa, 2009. Effects of salinity stress on growth, ions partitioning and yield of some cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) cultivars. Int. J. Bot., 5: 135-143.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

25:  Zeng, L., M.C. Shannon and C.M. Grieve, 2002. Evaluation of salt tolerance in rice genotypes by multiple agronomic parameters. Euphytica, 127: 235-245.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

26:  Bhatty, R.S., 1999. The potential of hull-less barley. Cereal Chem., 76: 589-599.
Direct Link  |  

©  2022 Science Alert. All Rights Reserved