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Open AccessArticle

Responses to Water Deficit and Salt Stress in Silver Fir (Abies alba Mill.) Seedlings

1
Faculty of Horticulture, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2
Mediterranean Agroforestry Institute (IAM), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain
3
Institute for Conservation and Improvement of Valencian Agrodiversity (COMAV), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(4), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040395
Received: 4 March 2020 / Revised: 24 March 2020 / Accepted: 30 March 2020 / Published: 2 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physiology of Tree Response to Drought)
Forest ecosystems are frequently exposed to abiotic stress, which adversely affects their growth, resistance and survival. For silver fir (Abies alba), the physiological and biochemical responses to water and salt stress have not been extensively studied. Responses of one-year-old seedlings to a 30-day water stress (withholding irrigation) or salt stress (100, 200 and 300 mM NaCl) treatments were analysed by determining stress-induced changes in growth parameters and different biochemical markers: accumulation of ions, different osmolytes and malondialdehyde (MDA, an oxidative stress biomarker), in the seedlings, and activation of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant systems. Both salt and water stress caused growth inhibition. The results obtained indicated that the most relevant responses to drought are based on the accumulation of soluble carbohydrates as osmolytes/osmoprotectants. Responses to high salinity, on the other hand, include the active transport of Na+, Cl and Ca2+ to the needles, the maintenance of relatively high K+/Na+ ratios and the accumulation of proline and soluble sugars for osmotic balance. Interestingly, relatively high Na+ concentrations were measured in the needles of A. alba seedlings at low external salinity, suggesting that Na+ can contribute to osmotic adjustment as a ‘cheap’ osmoticum, and its accumulation may represent a constitutive mechanism of defence against stress. These responses appear to be efficient enough to avoid the generation of high levels of oxidative stress, in agreement with the small increase in MDA contents and the relatively weak activation of the tested antioxidant systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: abiotic stress; antioxidants; drought; ion homeostasis; osmolytes; salinity; silver fir abiotic stress; antioxidants; drought; ion homeostasis; osmolytes; salinity; silver fir
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Todea (Morar), I.M.; González-Orenga, S.; Boscaiu, M.; Plazas, M.; Sestras, A.F.; Prohens, J.; Vicente, O.; Sestras, R.E. Responses to Water Deficit and Salt Stress in Silver Fir (Abies alba Mill.) Seedlings. Forests 2020, 11, 395.

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