Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2006, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (6): 954-959.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2006.0121

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

PHYSIOLOGICAL ROLES OF RHIZOMES IN RESPONSE TO SHORT_TERM SALINITY IN LEYMUS CHINENSIS

WANG Yu_Meng1,3; REN Li_Fei1; TIAN Qiu_Ying1; LIU Hong_Sheng2; LI Ling_Hao2; ZHANG Wen_Hao1*   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China; 2 Key Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China; 3 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Online:2006-11-30 Published:2006-11-30
  • Contact: ZHANG Wen_Hao

Abstract:

Background and Aims Rhizomes in clonal plants play a key role in storage and transport of nutrients as well as production of tillers. However, physiological functions of rhizomes in response to abiotic stress are poorly known. We investigated physiological responses ofLeymus chinensis to salinity.
Methods We measured the following physiological parameters after 24 h exposure of roots and rhizomes separately and exposure of roots and rhizomes together to 200 mmol·L-1 NaCl: water and proline content in leaves, K+ and Na+ content in leaves, roots and rhizomes, and osmolality, net photosynthesis rate and transpiration rate in leaves. 
Key Results Net photosynthesis rate and transpiration rate of leaves were significantly (p<0.05) reduced when roots and rhizomes individually and roots and rhizomes together were exposed to NaCl. The same treatments led to increases in osmolality and proline contents in leaves. There was a greater reduction in net photosynthesis rate and transpiration rate of leaves when roots and rhizomes were treated together with NaCl than treated separately. However, when roots and rhizomes were treated with NaCl separately, no significant differences in leaf water content, proline content, net photosynthesis rate and transpiration rate were observed, suggesting that the roots have a similar role to the rhizomes in response to salinity stress in L. chinensis. When roots and rhizomes were treated with NaCl either together or separately, the Na+ contents in roots, rhizomes and leaves were higher than those of controls, by contrast, the K+ contents were lower than those of controls.
Conclusions Rhizomes of L. chinensisare important in sensing and responding to salinity and have a similar function to that of roots in uptake and translocation of Na+ under salinity stress. Because rhizomes have smaller biomass and surface area than root systems, we speculate that rhizomes of L. chinensis may have greater capacity than roots for uptake and translocation of Na+ ions under salinity stress.

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