The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of salinity on growth, fatty acid composition, phenol content and antioxidant activity of Nigella sativa organs. Plants were grown hydroponically under NaCl stress (0, 20 40 and 60 mM). The results indicated that salinity affected N. sativa growth. The fatty acid composition of the leaves and the roots was investigated for the first time and major fatty acids were linolenic acid (58.1%) in the leaves and linoleic (43.9%) and palmitic (33.3%) acids and in the roots. Total fatty acid (TFA) content of the leaves decreased at 60 mM NaCl while root TFA increased at 20 and 40 mM NaCl. Moreover, the fatty acid composition was affected by NaCl; in leaves, the double bond index (DBI) decreased accompanied by a decrease of the level of linolenic acid which reached 14% at 60 mM NaCl. However, root DBI degree increased at 40 at 60 mM NaCl provoked mainly by the increase of the amount of linoleic acid by 15 and 8%, respectively, and the decrease of the amount of palmitic acid by 20 and 14%, respectively. Salt stress increased total polyphenol and individual phenolic acid contents in shoots. Moreover, the antiradical activity of the shoots (DPPH) increased at 60 mM NaCl. However, in roots, the total polyphenol content and the antiradical activity decreased sharply with increasing NaCl doses. Data reported here revealed the variation of fatty acids and phenolic compound contents in different organs of N. sativa , and the possible role of theses changes in the plant salt response were discussed.
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