Effect of salinity on seed germination and seedling development of sorghum

Rajabi Dehnavi A, Zahedi M, Ludwiczak A, Cardenas Perez S, Piernik A

Published: 17 June 2020 in Agronomy
Keywords: sorghum; salinity; crop plant; stress; cluster analysis; NMDS
DOI: 10.3390/agronomy100

Salinity is one of the most important abiotic stresses that negatively affects plant growth and development around the world. It has been reported that approximately 19.5% of all irrigated land and 2.1% of dry land is affected by salt stress, and these percentages continue to increase. Sorghum, a C4 plant, is the fifth most important cereal in the world. Numerous studies reported that there are high genetic variations in sorghum. These genetic variations can be monitored to search for the most salt-tolerant genotypes. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate the responses of ten sorghum genotypes to different levels of salinity. We focused on germination and seedling growth as the most critical stages of plant development. In our research we included germination percentage, germination index, mean germination time, seedling vigor index, seedlings’ shoot and root lengths, fresh and dry seedling weight, and salinity tolerance indices. For data assessment we applied two-way ANOVA, non-metric multidimensional scaling, and hierarchical agglomerative classification. Our results demonstrate that salinity was responsible for 98% of the variation in assessed parameters, whereas genotype effect accounted for only 2% of the documented variation. It can be concluded that seedling traits can be used as a valid criterion for the selection of genotypes with a better tolerance to salinity stress