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Forests 2017, 8(4), 136; doi:10.3390/f8040136

Screening of Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Cultivars for Salinity Tolerance

1
Department of Biology, College of Science, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 36, 123 Muscat, Oman
2
Department of Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 34, 123 Muscat, Oman
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jarmo K. Holopainen and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 17 March 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
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Abstract

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a major fruit tree in the Middle East and it is a plant considered to be tolerant to a variety of abiotic stresses, including salinity. However, the physiological basis of its salinity tolerance is not fully known. The objective of this study was to screen Omani date palm cultivars for tolerance or susceptibility to salt stress. Seedlings from 10 commercially important date palm cultivars were subjected to 240 mM NaCl, and several physiological parameters related to salinity tolerance traits were evaluated upon treatment. The cultivars were divided into two groups based on the dry weight (DW) of their leaf and root tissues, a parameter which was used as an indication of healthy growth. The results revealed that photosynthesis, electrolyte leakage (EL), and the shoot K+/Na+ ratio were all significantly reduced in the susceptible cultivars. In addition, the relative water content was higher in the tolerant cultivars in comparison with the susceptible ones. These results suggest that although date palm is tolerant to high salinity, there is variation in tolerance among different cultivars. Shoot Na+ exclusion, photosynthesis, and membrane stability are apparently the main determinants of tolerance and can be used in salinity tolerance screening of date palm. The results have shown new very tolerant cultivars (Manoma and Umsila) that could serve as genetic resources for improved date palm tolerance to salinity. View Full-Text
Keywords: date palm; salt stress; screening; tolerance; susceptible; photosynthesis; sodium; potassium date palm; salt stress; screening; tolerance; susceptible; photosynthesis; sodium; potassium
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Al Kharusi, L.; Assaha, D.V.M.; Al-Yahyai, R.; Yaish, M.W. Screening of Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Cultivars for Salinity Tolerance. Forests 2017, 8, 136.

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