Effects of salinity on flowering, morphology, biomass accumulation and leaf metabolites in an edible halophyte

Yvonne Ventura, Malika Myrzabayeva, Zerekbay Alikulov, Rustem Omarov, Inna Khozin-Goldberg, Moshe Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fresh water shortage in agriculture is an increasing problem worldwide, therefore the possibility of cultivating crops under saline conditions is of high importance. Crithmum maritimum, a halophytic plant naturally found on the rocky coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, has a long history of human consumption and was recently suggested as a cash crop for biosaline agriculture. In the present study, we compared the responses of different genotypes originating from France, Portugal and Israel to moderate saline irrigation (up to 100 mM NaCl). The genotypes varied greatly in the onset of flowering, their leaf appearance, growth habits and leaf metabolite content. Both Atlantic genotypes (from France and Portugal) flowered earlier than those from the Mediterranean, but the number of inflorescences decreased with salinity. Irrigation with 50 and 100 mM NaCl led to a reduction in biomass production in both the Israeli and the Portuguese genotypes, while the French genotype was found to produce maximumleaf yield at 50 mMNaCl. With increasing salinity, saltwas accumulated by the plants, as indicated by increasing electrical conductivities of the leaf extracts. Concomitantly, antioxidant compounds (such as ascorbic acid), total polyphenols and ureides responded to salinity in a genotype-dependent manner; either they increased, decreased or were unaffected. Notably, the total fatty acid concentration increased with salinity in both Mediterranean genotypes, reaching 2.7 and 2.4 % total fatty acids (on a dry weight basis) at 100 mM NaCl. Moreover, the proportion assigned to omega-3 fatty acids in these genotypes was higher than in their Atlantic counterparts at the highest salinity tested. Our results highlight the variations existing among C. maritimum genotypes from different origins regarding salt-induced changes in plant growth, flowering behaviour and leaf metabolites with nutritional value. Thus, genotypic characteristics should be taken into account when evaluating a wild plant species for future crop cultivation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberplu053
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Antioxidant compounds
  • Crithmum maritimum
  • Flowering
  • Germination
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Salinity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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