Morphological and anatomical changes in stems of Aeluropus littoralis under salt stress

Document Type : Original research paper


1 Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.

2 Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.

3 Genetics and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute of Tabarestan, Sari University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Sari, Iran.

4 Department of Basic Sciences, University of Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Sari, Iran.


Salinity is one of the most important agricultural issues causing considerable yield reduction in agricultural crops. The main adverse effects of salinity are due to excess amount of sodium ions that is toxic to plant cells. Most halophytes are equipped with defense mechanisms enabling them to tolerate the salty habitats. Among grass plants, Aeluropus littoralis is a known monocots halophyte that can tolerate harsh saline conditions. In this study, salt treatment was applied in three levels of 0, 200 and 400 mM NaCl after 45 days and biological samples were collected at 7, 14 and 21 days after treatment (DAT). For microscopic analysis, the tissues were cross-sectioned and stained using methylene blue for lignified tissues and Congo red for cellulosic tissues. The amounts of Na+ and K+ were measured by flame photometer and the content of lignin was measured by polymeric thioglycolic acid derivatives method. The results showed that the amount of Na+ increased 13-fold, while the stem length, stem diameter, vascular bundle number, metaxylem diameter, phloem diameter, K+, fresh weight and dry weight decreased significantly by 35%, 48%, 59%, 19%, 25%, 45%, 64% and 55% under salt treatment, respectively. The amount of lignin in stem did not significantly change under salinity. According to these results, A. littoralis can tolerate saline habitats by different adaptation strategies like the limitation of minerals transition and reduction of plant biomass. Furthermore, the concentration of lignin in metaxylem tissues and stele parenchyma led to increased resistance of halophytes in excess amounts of Na+.


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  • Receive Date: 12 May 2017
  • Revise Date: 31 July 2017
  • Accept Date: 27 August 2017
  • First Publish Date: 27 August 2017