Varietal differences in physiological and biochemical responses to salinity stress in six finger millet plants
MetadataShow full item record
Finger millet is an important cereal that is grown in semi-arid and arid regions of East-Africa. Salinity stress is a major environmental impediment for the crop growth and production. This study aimed to understand the physiological and biochemical responses to salinity stress of six Kenyan finger millet varieties (GBK043137, GBK043128, GBK043124, GBK043122, GBK043094, GBK043050) grown across different agroecological zones under NaClinduced salinity stress (100, 200 and 300 mM NaCl). Seeds were germinated on the sterile soil and treated using various concentrations of NaCl for 2 weeks. Early-seedling stage of germinated plants were irrigated with the same salt concentrations for 60 days. The results indicated depression in germination percentage, shoot and root growth rate, leaf relative water content, chlorophyll content, leaf K? concentration, and leaf K?/Na? ratios with increased salt levels and the degree of increment differed among the varieties. On the contrary, the content of proline, malonaldehyde, leaf total proteins, and reduced sugar increased with increasing salinity. At the same time, the leaf Na? and Cl- amounts of all plants increased substantially with increasing stress levels. Clustering analysis placed GBK043094 and GBK043137 together and these varieties were identified as salt-tolerant based on their performance. Taken together, our findings indicated a significant varietal variability for most of the parameters analysed. The superior varieties identified could be used as promising genetic resources in future breeding programmes directed towards development of salt-tolerant finger millet hybrids. Further analysis at genomic level needs to be undertaken to better understand the genetic factors that promote salinity tolerance in finger millet.