New insights on plant salt tolerance mechanisms and their potential use for breeding

Moez Hanin, Chantal Ebel, Mariama Ngom, Laurent Laplaze, Khaled Masmoudi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

531 Citations (Scopus)


Soil salinization is a major threat to agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions, where water scarcity and inadequate drainage of irrigated lands severely reduce crop yield. Salt accumulation inhibits plant growth and reduces the ability to uptake water and nutrients, leading to osmotic or water-deficit stress. Salt is also causing injury of the young photosynthetic leaves and acceleration of their senescence, as the Na+ cation is toxic when accumulating in cell cytosol resulting in ionic imbalance and toxicity of transpiring leaves. To cope with salt stress, plants have evolved mainly two types of tolerance mechanisms based on either limiting the entry of salt by the roots, or controlling its concentration and distribution. Understanding the overall control of Na+ accumulation and functional studies of genes involved in transport processes, will provide a new opportunity to improve the salinity tolerance of plants relevant to food security in arid regions. A better understanding of these tolerance mechanisms can be used to breed crops with improved yield performance under salinity stress. Moreover, associations of cultures with nitrogen-fixing bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi could serve as an alternative and sustainable strategy to increase crop yields in salt-affected fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1787
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberNOVEMBER2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 29 2016


  • Beneficial soil microorganisms
  • Detoxification pathways
  • Engineering of plant salinity tolerance
  • Salinity
  • Tolerance mechanisms
  • Transport of sodium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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