Little is known about how salinity affects ions distribution in root apoplast and symplast. Using x-ray microanalysis, ions distribution and the relative contribution of apoplastic and symplastic pathways for delivery of ions to root xylem were studied in sunflower plants exposed to moderate salinity (EC=6). Cortical cells provided a considerably extended Na+ and Cl− storage facility. Their contents are greater in cytoplasm (root symplast) as compared to those in intercellular spaces (root apoplast). Hence, in this level of salinity, salt damage in sunflower is not dehydration due to extracellular accumulation of sodium and chloride ions, as suggested in the Oertli hypothesis. On the other hand, reduction in calcium content due to salinity in intercellular space is less than reduction in the cytoplasm of cortical cells. It seems that sodium inhibits the radial movement of calcium in symplastic pathway more than in the apoplastic pathway. The cell wall seems to have an important role in providing calcium for the apoplastic pathway. Redistribution of calcium from the cell wall to intercellular space is because of its tendency towards xylem through the apoplastic pathway. This might be a strategy to enhance loading of calcium to xylem elements and to reduce calcium deficiency in young leaves under salinity. This phenomenon may be able to increase salt tolerance in sunflower plants. Supplemental calcium has been found to be effective in reducing radial transport of Na+ across the root cells and their loading into the xylem, but not sodium absorption. Supplemental calcium enhanced Ca2+ uptake and influx into roots and transport to stele.
Volume 46, 2021
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