The aim of this work was to test the hypothesis that the reduced growth rate of wheat and barley that results when the roots are exposed to NaCl is due to inadequate turgor in the expanding cells of the leaves. The hypothesis was tested by exposing plants to 100 millimolar NaCl (which reduced their growth rates by about 20%), growing them for 7 to 10 days with their roots in pressure chambers, and applying sufficient pneumatic pressure in the chambers to offset the osmotic pressure of the NaCl, namely, 0.48 megapascals. The results showed that applying the pressure had no sustained effect (relative to unpressurized controls) on growth rates, transpiration rates, or osmotic pressures of the cell sap, in either the fully expanded or currently expanding leaf tissue, of both wheat and barley. The results indicate that the applied pressure correspondingly increased turgor in the shoot although this was not directly measured. We conclude that shoot turgor alone was not regulating the growth of these NaCl-affected plants, and, after discussing other possible influences, argue that a message arising in the roots may be regulating the growth of the shoot.
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