White goosefoot plants (Chenopodium album L. of the family Chenopodiaceae) grown at various NaCl concentrations (3–350 mM) in the nutrient solution were used to study the cell ultrastructure as well as the qualitative and quantitative composition of fatty acids in the lipids of vegetative organs. In addition, the biomass of Ch. album vegetative organs, the water content, and the concentrations of K+, Na+, and Cl– were determined. The growth rates of plants raised at NaCl concentrations up to 200–250 mM were the same as for the control plants grown at 3 mM NaCl; the growth parameters remained rather high even at NaCl concentrations of 300–350 mM. The water content in Ch. album organs remained high at all NaCl concentrations tested. Analysis of the ionic status of Ch. album revealed a comparatively high K+ content in plant organs. At low NaCl concentrations in the nutrient solution, K+ ions were the dominant contributors to the osmolarity (the total concentration of osmotically active substances) and, consequently, to the lowered cell water potential in leaves and roots. As the concentration of NaCl was increased, the plant organs accumulated larger amounts of Na+ and Cl–, and the contribution of these ion species to osmolarity became increasingly noticeable. At 300–350 mM NaCl the contribution of Na+ and Cl– to osmolarity was comparable to that of K+. An electron microscopy study of Ch. album cells revealed that, apart from the usual response to salinity manifested in typical ultrastructural changes of chloroplasts, mitochondria, and the cytosol, the salinity response comprised the enhanced formation of endocytic structures and exosomes and stimulation of autophagy. It is supposed that activation of these processes is related to the removal from the cytoplasm of toxic substances and the cell structures impaired by salt stress conditions. The qualitative and quantitative composition of fatty acids in the lipids of Ch. album organs was hardly affected by NaCl level. These findings are consistent with the high salt tolerance of Ch. album, manifested specifically in retention of growth functions under wide-range variations of NaCl concentration in the nutrient solution and in maintenance of K+, Na+, and Cl– content in organs at a constant level characteristic of untreated plants.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 19, 2016
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