Salinity negatively influences crop growth, but several salt-tolerant plant species (halophytes) are viable crops. Sarcocornia fruticosa (ecotypes EL and VM) is currently cultivated, but there is demand for new crop candidates and higher biomass production. Salicornia brachiata Roxb. and Arthrocneum macrostachyum L. are considered novel crops, and to realize their potential, their response to salinity and nitrogen nutrition was compared to S. fruticosa ecotypes. Experiments revealed that higher N supplemented with lower NaCl significantly increased fresh and dry shoot biomass. Lower biomass was obtained at lower nitrogen supplemented with elevated NaCl, whereas total soluble solids content positively correlated with NaCl fertigation in both Sarcocornia ecotypes. Protein content increased with a lower nitrogen supply. Anthocyanins and oxygen radical absorbance capacity were highest in S. fruticosa EL and A. macrostachyum at higher NaCl supply. The results show that halophytes have a variety of strategies to cope with high NaCl, even between ecotypes of the same species. Notably, repetitive harvesting of S. brachiata delayed flowering enabling year-round biomass production. Additionally, S. brachiata accumulated higher biomass than Sarcocornia VM when grown in a greenhouse at higher radiation than in a growth room and strongly supports its inclusion as a cash-crop halophyte.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the funding provided by the EC (project number 820906) and the Israel Portugal Ministry of Science (project number 3-16524).
Provided by the European Commission H2O2O initiative, project number 820906 INDIAH2O, the Ministry of Innovation, Science & Technology, Israel-Portugal, project number 3-16524, the Portuguese National Budget (bilateral project, Portugal/Israel, PT-IL/0003/2019, UIDB/04326/2020 projects) and FCT Scientific Employment Stimulus (CEECIND/00425/2017).
© 2022 by the authors.
- Arthrocnemum macrostachyum
- Salicornia brachiata
- salt tolerance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science