Salicornia as a crop plant in temperate regions: selection of genetically characterized ecotypes and optimization of their cultivation conditions

Singh, Devesh, Buhmann, Anne K, Flowers, Tim J, Seal, Charlotte E and Papenbrock, Jutta (2014) Salicornia as a crop plant in temperate regions: selection of genetically characterized ecotypes and optimization of their cultivation conditions. AoB Plants, 6 (plu071). pp. 1-19. ISSN 2041-2851

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Rising sea levels and salinization of groundwater due to global climate change result in fast dwindling sources of fresh water. Therefore it is important to find alternatives to grow food crops and vegetables. Halophytes are naturally evolved salt-tolerant plants that are adapted to grow in environments that inhibit the growth of most glycophytic crop plants substantially. Members of the Salicornioideae are promising candidates for saline agriculture due to their high tolerance to salinity. Our aim was to develop genetically characterized lines of Salicornia and Sarcocornia for further breeding and to determine optimal cultivation conditions. To obtain a large and diverse genetic pool, seeds were collected from different countries and ecological conditions. The External Transcribed Spacer (ETS) sequence of 62 Salicornia and Sarcocornia accessions was analysed: ETS sequence data showed a clear distinction between the two genera and between different Salicornia taxa. However, in some cases the ETS was not sufficiently variable to resolve morphologically distinct species. For the determination of optimal cultivation conditions, experiments on germination, seedling establishment and growth to a harvestable size were performed using different accessions of Salicornia spp. Experiments revealed that the percentage germination was greatest at lower salinities and with temperatures of 20/10˚C (day/night). Salicornia spp. produced more harvestable biomass In hydroponic culture than in sand culture, but the nutrient concentration requires optimization as hydroponically grown plants showed symptoms of stress. Salicornia ramosissima produced more harvestable biomass than S. dolichostachya in artificial sea water containing 257 mM NaCl. Based on preliminary tests on ease of cultivation, gain in biomass, morphology and taste, S. dolichostachya was investigated in more detail and the optimal salinity for seedling establishment found to be 100 mM. Harvesting of S. dolichostachya twice in a growing season was successful but the interval between the harvests needs to be optimized to maximise biomass production.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Biomass; ETS; germination; Salicornia species; salinity
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biology and Environmental Science
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany > QK0710 Plant physiology
Depositing User: Tim Flowers
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 09:43
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2018 09:44

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