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Salt Stress Affects the Growth and Yield of Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by Altering the Antioxidant Machinery and Expression of Hormones and Stress-Specific Genes

Shahid Hussain1, Rui Zhang1, Shuli Liu1, Yang Wang1, Irshad Ahmad2, Yinglong Chen1, Hongyan Hou3, Qigen Dai1,*

1 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Cultivation and Physiology, Jiangsu Co-innovation Center for Modern Production Technology of Grain Crops, Research Institute of Rice Industrial Engineering Technology, Key Laboratory of Saline-Alkali Soil Improvement and Utilization (Coastal Saline-Alkali Lands), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, 225000, China
2 Joint International Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Product Safety of the Ministry of Education of China, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, 225009, China
3 Yibang Agriculture Technology Development Co., Ltd., Dongying, 257000, China

* Corresponding Author: Qigen Dai. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Physiological and Molecular Interventions in Improving Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2023, 92(3), 861-881.


Understanding physiological responses in saline agriculture may facilitate wheat breeding programs. Based on a screening test, the Ningmai-14 (NM-14) and Yangmai-23 (YM-23) wheat cultivars were selected for further experiments to understand the underlying salinity tolerance mechanism. This study investigated the effects of five salinity levels such as Control (CK) = 0 (without NaCl stress), S1 = 0.20%, S2 = 0.25%, S3 = 0.30% and S4 = 0.35% of NaCl concentrations of soil on wheat plants. The results showed that increased salinity concentration reduced the growth and yield of wheat cultivars (NM-14 and YM-23). However, YM-23 (12.7%) yielded more than NM-14 at maximum salinity stress. The higher salinity (S4) increased the concentration of Na+ (4.3 to 5.8-fold) and P contents (2.5 to 2.2-fold), while reducing the average concentrations of K+, Cu, and K+/Na+ ratio. The higher salinity (S4) reduced the spikelet length by 21.35% (followed by grain spike−1), and the starch content by 18.81%. In the YM-23 cultivar, higher salinity increased superoxide dismutase (SOD), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and amylase. Compared to NM-14, induced expression of TaYUC2, 6, and TaGA13ox, 20ox genes were recorded in YM-23. Similarly, in YM-23 the stress-specific genes such as TaHSP70, 90 were enhanced whereas, TaSOS1, 2 were suppressed. Overall, our study revealed that salt tolerant cultivars modulate hormonal and antioxidant activities, thus maintaining high growth.


Cite This Article

Hussain, S., Zhang, R., Liu, S., Wang, Y., Ahmad, I. et al. (2023). Salt Stress Affects the Growth and Yield of Wheat ( L.) by Altering the Antioxidant Machinery and Expression of Hormones and Stress-Specific Genes. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 92(3), 861–881.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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