Mechanisms of Response to Salt Stress in Oleander (Nerium oleander L.)

Dinesh Kumar, Mohamad Al Hassan, Oscar Vicente, Veena Agrawal, Monica Boscaiu


Elucidating the mechanisms of abiotic stress tolerance in different species will help to develop more resistant plant varieties, contributing to improve agricultural production in a climate change scenario. Basic responses to salt stress, dependent on osmolyte accumulation and activation of antioxidant systems, have been studied in Nerium oleander, a xerophytic species widely used as ornamental. Salt strongly inhibited growth, but the plants survived one-month treatments with quite high NaCl concentrations, up to 800 mM, indicating the the species is relatively resistant to salt stress, in addition to drought. Levels of proline, glycine betaine and soluble sugars increased only slightly in the presence of salt; however, soluble sugar absolute contents were much higher than those of the other osmolytes, suggesting a functional role of these compounds in osmotic adjustment, and the presence of constitutive mechanisms of response to salt stress. High salinity generated oxidative stress in the plants, as shown by the increase of malondialdehyde levels. Antioxidant systems, enzymatic and non-enzymatic, are generally activated in response to salt stress; in oleander, they do not seem to include total phenolics or flavonoids, antioxidant compounds which did not accumulate significantly in salt-trated plants


climate change; Nerium oleander; salt stress; soil salinisation

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