Assessment of salinity tolerance in rice using seedling based morpho-physiological indices

Syed Adeel Zafar, Sajid Shokat, Hafiz Ghulam Muhu-Din Ahmed, Adeel Khan, Muhammad Zeshan Ali, Rana Muhammad Atif


Background: Salinity is among the most damaging abiotic stresses for rice production which limits its growing area. The present research was conducted to evaluate five rice varieties for salinity tolerance at seedling stage.

Methods: Experiment was conducted in triplicate and in two sets. One set was grown as a control (non-stress) and other as salt stressed. Salt stress of 15 dS/m was applied to one set of rice seedlings under controlled conditions. Data for different growth related morpho-physiological traits, i.e. germination percentage, root and shoot length, seedling fresh and dry weight, Na+ and K+ uptake were recorded after 15 days of seedling emergence under control as well as salinity condition.

Results: Significant differences were observed among the genotypes under both the treatments and interaction of the evaluated traits suggested a significant variability among the rice genotypes under salt stress. NIAB-IRRI-9, Basmati-198 and KSK-133 were proved to be relatively salt tolerant varieties as they showed good performance for the recorded parameters. However, Basmati-385 was observed a salt sensitive variety due to highest reduction in seedling fresh and dry weight along with the maximum Na+ uptake.

Conclusion: Based on obtained results, it was concluded that the evaluated morpho-physiological traits were useful to screen rice cultivars for salinity stress. In addition, NIAB-IRRI-9, Basmati-198 and KSK-133 can be used in breeding programs as tolerant check and Basmati-385 can be used as sensitive check.

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