Searching for salt tolerance among wild relatives of wheat: What should we look for?

Hamutal Inbart-Pompan, Tamar Eilam, Amram Eshe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Common strategies for identifying new genetic sources for crop salt tolerance have had limited success. One of the problems lies in the focusing on the seedling vegetative stage, despite the fact that tolerance at the reproductive stages is different. This article highlights a new strategy for such research. The first phase of this study focused on finding closely-related genotypes that differed in a key trait related to salt tolerance. Four hundred lines of four species were subjected to 150 mM NaCl in sand culture. Four Aegilops kotchyi lines were selected in this phase. Two tolerant lines (Ak3390 and Ak3393) showed salinity tolerance to 150 mM NaCl both in the vegetative and the reproductive phase. The other two sensitive lines (Ak3511 and Ak4533) reached flowering but failed to produce viable seeds under salt. The four lines were compared during the second phase of the study in terms of ion accumulation and other processes leading to grain production. All lines exhibited decreasing ion content along the spike with no Na+ reaching the stigma. No significant difference was found between the tolerant and sensitive lines in pollen production and fertilization processes. The sensitive lines did not fill the seed endosperm under salt, and the seeds produced by the salt-treated plants were not viable; while the tolerant lines produced viable seeds with solid full endosperm. It is suggested that future studies will use this two-phase selection strategy in order to identify those genotypes that could be used for the study of key processes related to salt tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2116-2127
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Journal of Crop Science
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2013


  • Aegilops
  • Endosperm
  • Grain filling
  • Pollen viability


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