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Open AccessArticle

Physiological Basis of Salt Stress Tolerance in a Landrace and a Commercial Variety of Sweet Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.)

1
National Research Council of Italy, Institute for Mediterranean Agricultural and Forestry Systems (CNR-ISAFOM), Ercolano, 80056 Naples, Italy
2
Department of Agricultural Science, University of Napoli Federico II, Portici, 80055 Naples, Italy
3
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (CREA-OF), Pontecagnano, 84098 Salerno, Italy
4
National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources (CNR-IBBR), Research Division Portici, 80055 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(6), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060795
Received: 27 March 2020 / Revised: 17 June 2020 / Accepted: 22 June 2020 / Published: 25 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change)
Salt stress is one of the most impactful abiotic stresses that plants must cope with. Plants’ ability to tolerate salt stress relies on multiple mechanisms, which are associated with biomass and yield reductions. Sweet pepper is a salt-sensitive crop that in Mediterranean regions can be exposed to salt build-up in the root zone due to irrigation. Understanding the physiological mechanisms that plants activate to adapt to soil salinization is essential to develop breeding programs and agricultural practices that counteract this phenomenon and ultimately minimize yield reductions. With this aim, the physiological and productive performances of Quadrato D’Asti, a common commercial sweet pepper cultivar in Italy, and Cazzone Giallo, a landrace of the Campania region (Italy), were compared under different salt stress treatments. Quadrato D’Asti had higher tolerance to salt stress when compared to Cazzone Giallo in terms of yield, which was associated with higher leaf biomass vs. fruit ratio in the former. Ion accumulation and profiling between the two genoptypes revealed that Quadrato D’Asti was more efficient at excluding chloride from green tissues, allowing the maintenance of photosystem functionality under stress. In contrast, Cazzone Giallo seemed to compartmentalize most sodium in the stem. While sodium accumulation in the stems has been shown to protect shoots from sodium toxicity, in pepper and/or in the specific experimental conditions imposed, this strategy was less efficient than chloride exclusion for salt stress tolerance. View Full-Text
Keywords: chloride; sodium; photosynthesis; landraces; yield chloride; sodium; photosynthesis; landraces; yield
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MDPI and ACS Style

Giorio, P.; Cirillo, V.; Caramante, M.; Oliva, M.; Guida, G.; Venezia, A.; Grillo, S.; Maggio, A.; Albrizio, R. Physiological Basis of Salt Stress Tolerance in a Landrace and a Commercial Variety of Sweet Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Plants 2020, 9, 795.

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