, the European larch, is not normally affected by drought or salinity in its natural habitats, but it may be when grown as an ornamental tree, by the widespread practice of winter de-icing of mountain roads with NaCl, and because of global warming-induced environmental changes. The responses of two-month-old larch seedlings to 30 days water deficit (withholding irrigation) or salt stress (150 mM NaCl) treatments were studied by determining stress-induced changes in several growth parameters and biochemical markers (ion and osmolyte contents, level of oxidative stress, activation of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant systems). Both treatments caused the inhibition of growth, degradation of photosynthetic pigments, a small increase in malondialdehyde (MDA, an oxidative stress biomarker), and the activation of antioxidant enzymes: superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and glutathione reductase (GR). In all cases, salinity appeared to have stronger effects on the seedlings than water deficit. The presence of relatively high concentrations of glycine betaine, both in control and stressed plants, may represent a constitutive mechanism of defence against stress in European larch. Additionally, other responses were specific for salt stress and included the activation of K+
transport from roots to shoots and the accumulation of Pro as an osmoprotectant.
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