Growth, Physiological and Biochemical Responses of two Greek Cotton Cultivars to Salt Stress and their Impact as Selection Indices for Salt Tolerance


  • Maria-Anna MOUSSOURAKI Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Crop Science, Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens (GR)
  • Eleni TANI Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Crop Science, Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens (GR)
  • Anna VELLIOU Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Crop Science, Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens (GR)
  • Maria GOUFA Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Crop Science, Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens (GR)
  • Maria PSYCHOGIOU Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Natural Resources Management and Agricultural Engineering, Laboratory of Agricultural Hydraulics, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens (GR)
  • Ioannis E. PAPADAKIS Agricultural University of Athens, Laboratory of Pomology, Department of Crop Science, Iera odos 75,11855, Athens (GR)
  • Eleni M. ABRAHAM Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Environment, Laboratory of Range Science, 54124 Thessaloniki (GR)



Gossypium hirsutum; gas exchanges parameters; ion analyses; lipid peroxidation; salinity tolerance


Soil salinity is a major constrain of crop productivity. Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is an important fiber crop worldwide and a major agricultural product in Greece. Two commercial cotton cultivars (‘Hersi’ and ‘ST 318’) were studied to compare their response under non-saline and saline conditions in a greenhouse experiment. Salt stress on plants was imposed by two different approaches: a gradual and an initial acclimatization to a non-lethal NaCl concentration (150 mM). To explore salt stress responses, growth (height of plants, roots, shoots and leaves dry weight, reproductive shoots, Salinity Sensitivity Index), gas exchange (Photosynthetic rate, Stomatal conductance, Transpiration rate and Water Use Efficiency) and biochemical parameters (proline, H2O2 and MDA content), were examined as well as ion homeostasis. ‘Hersi’ had significantly higher dry weight of roots, shoots and leaves, lower salinity sensitivity index of roots compared to ‘ST 318’.  In this regard, it appears that ‘Hersi’ cultivar performed better than ‘ST 318’ to increased salinity conditions, due to better control of gas exchange parameters and K+/Na+ homeostasis as well as better membrane integrity. Furthermore, the gradual acclimatization to the 150 mM NaCl concentration had a milder effect on both cultivars compared to the initial acclimatization.


Metrics Loading ...


Akhtar J, Saqib ZA, Sarfraz M, Saleem I, Haq MA (2010). Evaluating salt tolerant cotton genotypes at different levels of NaCl stress in solution and soil culture. Pakistan Journal of Botany 42(4):2857-2866.

Akhtar J, Saqib ZA, Sarfraz M, Saleem I, Haq MA (2010). Evaluating salt tolerant cotton genotypes at different levels of NaCl stress in solution and soil culture. Pakistan Journal of Botany 42(4):2857-2866.

Alexieva V, Sergiev I, Mapelli S, Karanov E (2001). The effect of drought and ultraviolet radiation on growth and stress markers in pea and wheat. Plant, Cell & Environment 24(12):1337-1344.

Almeida DM, Oliveira MM, Saibo NJM (2017). Regulation of Na+ and K+ homeostasis in plants: towards improved salt stress tolerance in crop plants. Genetics and Molecular Biology 40(1):326-345.

Ashraf M (2002). Salt tolerance of cotton: Some new advances. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 21(1):1-30.

Ashraf M, Foolad MR (2007). Roles of glycine betaine and proline in improving plant abiotic stress resistance. Environmental and Experimental Botany 59(2):206-216.

Ashraf M, Wu L (1994). Breeding for salinity tolerance in plants. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 13(1):17-42.

Basal HPJB (2010). Response of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) genotypes to salt stress. Pakistan Journal of Botany 42(1):505-511.

Bates LS, Waldren RP, Teare ID (1973). Rapid determination of free proline for water-stress studies. Plant Soil (39):205-207.

Bojórquez-Quintal E, Velarde-Buendía A, Ku-González Á, Carillo-Pech M, Ortega-Camacho D, Echevarría-Machado I, … Martínez-Estévez M (2014). Mechanisms of salt tolerance in habanero pepper plants (Capsicum chinense Jacq.): Proline accumulation, ions dynamics and sodium root-shoot partition and compartmentation. Frontiers in Plant Science 5:605-619.

Brugnoli E, Lauteri M (1991). Effects of salinity on stomatal conductance, photosynthetic capacity, and carbon isotope discrimination of salt-tolerant (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and salt-sensitive (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) C(3) non-halophytes. Plant Physiology 95(2):628-635.

Campanelli A, Ruta C, Morone-Fortunato I, De Mastro G (2013). Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) clones tolerant to salt stress: in vitro selection. Central European Journal of Biology 8(8):765-776.

Carillo P, Annunziata MG, Pontecorvo G, Fuggi A, Woodrow P (2011). Salinity stress and salt tolerance. In: Shanker AK, Venkateswarlu B (Eds). Abiotic Stress in Plants - Mechanisms and Adaptations B.). IntechOpen pp 21-38.

Chakraborty K, Bose J, Shabala L, Shabala S (2016). Difference in root K+ retention ability and reduced sensitivity of K+-permeable channels to reactive oxygen species confer differential salt tolerance in three Brassica species. Journal of Experimental Botany 67(15):4611-4625.

Constable GJCK, llewelyn D, Walford S (2015). Cotton breeding for fiber quality improvement. In: Cruz VMV, Dierig DA (Eds). Industrial Crops. Handbook of Plant Breeding, vol 9. Springer, New York, NY pp 191-232.

Dai JL, Duan LS, Dong HZ (2014). Improved nutrient uptake enhances cotton growth and salinity tolerance in saline media. Journal of Plant Nutrition 37(8):1269-1286.

Dogan I, Ozyigit I, Demir G (2012). Mineral element distribution of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) seedlings under different salinity levels. Pakistan Journal of Botany 44(SI):15-20.

Epstein E (1998). How calcium enhances plant salt tolerance. Science 280 (5371):1906-1907.

Freitas VS, Alencar NLM, de Lacerda CF, Prisco JT, Eneas G-F (2011). Changes in physiological and biochemical indicators associated with salt tolerance in cotton, sorghum and cowpea. African Journal of Biochemistry Research 5(8):264-271.

Gharsallah C, Fakhfakh H, Grubb D, Gorsane F (2016). Effect of salt stress on ion concentration, proline content, antioxidant enzyme activities and gene expression in tomato cultivars. AoΒ Plants 8:plw055.

Grattan SR, Grieve CM (1999). Salinity-mineral nutrient relations in horticultural crops. Scientia Horticulturae 78(1-4):127-157.

Hadi MR, Karimi N (2012). The role of calcium in plants' salt tolerance. Journal of Plant Nutrition 35(13):2037-2054.

Hamrouni L, Ben Abdallah F, Abdelly C, Ghorbel A (2008). La culture in vitro: un moyen rapide et efficace pour sélectionner des génotypes de vigne tolérant la salinité.[ In vitro culture:a simple and efficient way for salt-tolerant grapevine genotype selection]. Comptes Redus Biologies 331(2):152-163.

Hasegawa PM, Bressan RA, Zhu J-K, Bohnert HJ (2000). Plant cellular and molecular responces to high salinity. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 51(1):463-499.

Hauser F, Horie T (2010). A conserved primary salt tolerance mechanism mediated by HKT transporters: a mechanism for sodium exclusion and maintenance of high K+/Na+ ratio in leaves during salinity stress. Plant, Cell & Environment 33(4):552-565.

Heath RL, Packer L (1968). Photoperoxidation in isolated chloroplasts: I. Kinetics and stoichiometry of fatty acid peroxidation. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 125(1):189-198.

Higbie SM, Wang F, Stewart JM, Sterling TM, Lindemann WC, Hughs E, Zhang J (2010). Physiological response to salt (NaCl) stress in selected cultivated tetraploid cottons. International Journal of Agronomy 643475.

Holá D, Benešová M, Fischer L, Haisel D, Hnilička F, Hniličková H, … Wilhelmová N (2017). The disadvantages of being a hybrid during drought: A combined analysis of plant morphology, physiology and leaf proteome in maize. PLoS One 12(4):e0176121.

Jones JrJB (2001). Laboratory guide for conducting soil tests and plant analysis. CRC Press 384 p.

Kennedy BF, De Filippis LF (1999). Physiological and oxidative response to nacl of the salt tolerant Grevillea ilicifolia and the salt sensitive Grevillea arenaria. Journal of Plant Physiology 155(6):746-754.

Khan MA, Ungar IA, Showalter AM (2000). The effect of salinity on the growth, water status, and ion content of a leaf succulent perennial halophyte, Suaeda fruticosa (L.) Forssk. Journal of Arid Environments 45(1):73-84.

Kong X, Luo Z, Dong H, Eneji AE, Li W (2016). H2O2 and ABA signaling are responsible for the increased Na+ efflux and water uptake in Gossypium hirsutum L. roots in the non-saline side under non-uniform root zone salinity. Journal of Experimental Botany 67 (8):2247-2261.

Leidi EO, Saiz JF (1997). Is salinity tolerance related to Na accumulation in upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) seedlings? Plant and Soil 190(1):67-75.

Munns R (2002). Comparative physiology of salt and water stress. Plant, Cell and Environment 25(2):239-250.

Munns R, Gilliham M (2015). Salinity tolerance of crops – what is the cost? New Phytologist 208(3):668-673.

Munns R, Tester M (2008). Mechanisms of salinity tolerance. Annual Review of Plant Biology 59:651-681.

Niu X, Bressan RA, Hasegawa PM, Pardo JM (1995). Ion homeostasis in NaCl stress environments. Plant Physiology 109(3):735-742.

Ozturk L, Demir Y, Ünlükara A, Karatas I, Kurunc A, Duzdemir O (2012). Effects of long-term salt stress on antioxidant system, chlorophyll and proline contents in pea leaves. Romanian Biotechnological Letters 17(3):7227-7236.

Ozyigit II, Dogan I, Demir G, Yalcin IE (2017). Mineral nutrient acquisition by cotton cultivars grown under salt stress. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 48 (8):846-856.

Parida AK, Das AB (2005). Salt tolerance and salinity effects on plants: a review. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 60(3):324-349.

Parihar P, Singh S, Singh R, Singh VP, Prasad SM (2015). Effect of salinity stress on plants and its tolerance strategies: a review. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 22(6):4056-4075.

Peng Z, He S, Sun J, Pan Z, Gong W, Lu Y, Du X (2016). Na+ compartmentalization related to salinity stress tolerance in upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) seedlings. Scientific Reports 6:34548.

Rahnama A, Poustini K, Tavakkol Afshari R, Tavakoli A (2010). Growth and stomatal responses of bread wheat genotypes in tolerance to salt stress. International Journal of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering 6(10):787-792.

Rahneshan Z, Nasibi F, Moghadam AA (2018). Effects of salinity stress on some growth, physiological, biochemical parameters and nutrients in two pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) rootstocks. Journal of Plant Interactions 13(1):73-82.

Razzouk S, Whittington WJ (1991). Effects of salinity on cotton yield and quality. Field Crops Research 26(3):305-314.

Shabala S (2013). Learning from halophytes: physiological basis and strategies to improve abiotic stress tolerance in crops. Annals of Botany 112(7):1209-1221.

Silva-Ortega CO, Ochoa-Alfaro AE, Reyes-Agüero JA, Aguado-Santacruz GA, Jiménez-Bremont JF (2008). Salt stress increases the expression of p5cs gene and induces proline accumulation in cactus pear. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 46(1):82-92.

Thu TTP, Yasui H, Yamakawa T (2017). Effects of salt stress on plant growth characteristics and mineral content in diverse rice genotypes. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 63(3):264-273.

Verbruggen N, Hermans C (2008). Proline accumulation in plants: a review. Amino Acids 35(4):753-759.

Wang N, Qi H, Qiao W, Shi J, Xu Q, Zhou H, Yan G, Huang Q (2017a). Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) genotypes with contrasting K+/Na+ ion homeostasis: implications for salinity tolerance. Acta Physiologia Plantarum 39(3):77-87.

Wang N, Qi H, Su G, Yang J, Zhou H, Xu Q, Huang Q, Yan G (2016). Genotypic variations in ion homeostasis, photochemical efficiency and antioxidant capacity adjustment to salinity in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 62(3):240-246.

Wang N, Qiao W, Liu X, Shi J, Xu Q, Zhou H, Yan G, Huang Q (2017b). Relative contribution of Na+/K+ homeostasis, photochemical efficiency and antioxidant defense system to differential salt tolerance in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) cultivars. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 119:121-131.

Wang Y, Li X, Li J, Bao Q, Zhang F, Tulaxi G, Wang Z (2016). Salt-induced hydrogen peroxide is involved in modulation of antioxidant enzymes in cotton. The Crop Journal 4(6):490-498.

Zhang L, Ma H, Chen T, Pen J, Yu S, Zhao X (2014). Morphological and physiological responses of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) plants to salinity. PLoS One 9 (11):e112807.

Zhu J-K (2001). Cell signaling under salt, water and cold stresses. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 4(5):401-406.

Zhu X, Cao Q, Sun L, Yang X, Yang W, Zhang H (2018). Stomatal conductance and morphology of arbuscular mycorrhizal wheat plants response to elevated CO2 and NaCl stress. Frontiers in Plant Science 9:1363.




How to Cite

MOUSSOURAKI, M.-A. ., TANI, E., VELLIOU, A., GOUFA, M., PSYCHOGIOU, M., PAPADAKIS, I. E. ., & ABRAHAM, E. M. (2019). Growth, Physiological and Biochemical Responses of two Greek Cotton Cultivars to Salt Stress and their Impact as Selection Indices for Salt Tolerance. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 47(3), 706–715.



Research Articles
DOI: 10.15835/nbha47311463

Most read articles by the same author(s)