Growth responses and nitrogen-15 absorption of desert saltgrass under salt stress

Mohammad Pessarakli, Kenneth B. Marcum, David M. Kopec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Saltgrass [Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene var. stricta (Gray) Beetle], accession WA-12, collected from a salt playa in Wikox, AZ, was studied in a greenhouse to evaluate its growth responses in terms of shoot and root lengths, shoot dry-matter yield, and nitrogen (N) (regular and 15N) absorption rates under control and salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) stress conditions. Plants were grown under a control (no salt) and three levels of salt stress (100, 200, and 400 mM NaCl, equivalent to 5850, 11700, and 23400 mg L-1 sodium chloride, respectively), using Hoagland solution in a hydroponics system. Ammonium sulfate [(15NH4)2SO4], 53% 15N (atom percent 15N) was used to enrich the plants. Plant shoots were harvested weekly, oven-dried at 60°C, and the dry weights measured. At each harvest, both shoot and root lengths were also measured. During the last harvest, plant roots were also harvested and oven-dried, and dry weights were determined and recorded. All harvested plant materials were analyzed for total N and 15N. The results showed that shoot and root lengths decreased under increasing salinity levels. However, both shoot fresh and dry weights significantly increased at 200 mM NaCl salinity relative to the control or to the 400 mM NaCl level. Shoot succulence (fresh weight/dry weight) also increased from the control (no salt) to 200 mM NaCl, then declined. The root dry weights at both 200 mM and 400 mM NaCl salinity levels were significantly higher than under the control. Concentrations of both total-N and 15N in the shoots were higher in NaCl-treated plants relative to those under the control. Shoot total-N and 15N contents were highest in 200 mM NaCl-treated plants relative to those under the control and 400 mM salinity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1441-1452
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth
  • NaCl
  • Nitrogen uptake
  • Salinity
  • Saltgrass
  • Sodium chloride
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Growth responses and nitrogen-15 absorption of desert saltgrass under salt stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this