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    Is osmotic adjustment required for water stress resistance in the Mediterranean shrub Atriplex halimus L?

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    Abstract
    The effect of water stress was investigated in plants from two populations of Atriplex halimus L: Tensift issued from a salt-affected coastal area and Kairouan, originating from an inland dried site. Water deficit was applied by withholding water for 22 days. Shoot dry weight (shoot DW), leaf relative water content (RWC), turgid weight to dry weight ratio (TW/DW), osmotic potential (Ψs), osmotic adjustment (OA), proline, glycinebetaine, and sugar content were determined 1, 8, 15 and 22 days after withholding watering. Water stress induced a decrease in shoot DW, RWC, Ψs, and TW/DW, but an increase in glycinebetaine and sugar leaf contents. The decrease of Ψs and TW/DW was more marked in Kairouan than in Tensift. At the end of the stress period, Kairouan showed a greater OA compared with Tensift. However, the contribution of net solute accumulation (OAacc) was similar in both populations in response to stress. Water stress resistance could thus not be associated with higher OA, although the ability of plants to regulate these metabolic and physiological functions could play an important role under harmful conditions. The possible roles of osmolyte accumulations are discussed in relation to the specific physiological strategy of water-stress-resistance in this species.
    Article Outline
    Introduction
    Material and methods
    Plant material and culture conditions
    Soil water content
    Plant growth and water relations
    Organic solute quantification
    Statistical analysis
    Results
    Soil water content and plant growth
    Water relations
    Osmolytes accumulation
    Discussion
    Acknowledgements
    References

     

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