Quinoa is regarded as a highly salt tolerant halophyte crop, of great potential for cultivation on saline areas around the world. Fourteen quinoa genotypes of different geographical origin, differing in salinity tolerance, were grown under greenhouse conditions. Salinity treatment started on 10 day old seedlings. Six weeks after the treatment commenced, leaf sap Na and K content and osmolality, stomatal density, chlorophyll fluorescence characteristics, and xylem sap Na and K composition were measured. Responses to salinity differed greatly among the varieties. All cultivars had substantially increased K+ concentrations in the leaf sap, but the most tolerant cultivars had lower xylem Na+ content at the time of sampling. Most tolerant cultivars had lowest leaf sap osmolality. All varieties reduced stomata density when grown under saline conditions. All varieties clustered into two groups (includers and excluders) depending on their strategy of handling Na+ under saline conditions. Under control (non-saline) conditions, a strong positive correlation was observed between salinity tolerance and plants ability to accumulate Na+ in the shoot. Increased leaf sap K+, controlled Na+ loading to the xylem, and reduced stomata density are important physiological traits contributing to genotypic differences in salinity tolerance in quinoa, a halophyte species from Chenopodium family.
Journal of Plant Physiology, 2013, Vol 170, Issue 10, p. 906-914