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Can the nitrogenous composition of xylem sap be used to assess salinity stress in Casuarina glauca?

Cramer, V.A., Schmidt, S., Stewart, G.R. and Thorburn, P.J. (2002) Can the nitrogenous composition of xylem sap be used to assess salinity stress in Casuarina glauca? Tree Physiology, 22 (14). pp. 1019-1026.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/22.14.1019
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Abstract

It is predicted that dryland salinity will affect up to 17 Mha of the Australian landscape by 2050, and therefore, monitoring the health of tree plantings and remnant native vegetation in saline areas is increasingly important. Casuarina glauca Sieber ex Spreng. has considerable salinity tolerance and is commonly planted in areas with a shallow, saline water table. To evaluate the potential of using the nitrogenous composition of xylem sap to assess salinity stress in C. glauca, the responses of trees grown with various soil salinities in a greenhouse were compared with those of trees growing in field plots with different water table depths and groundwater salinities. In the greenhouse, increasing soil salinity led to increased allocation of nitrogen (N) to proline and arginine in both stem and root xylem sap, with coincident decreases in citrulline and asparagine. Although the field plots were ranked as increasingly saline—based on ground water salinity and depth—only the allocation of N to citrulline differed significantly between the field plots. Within each plot, temporal variation in the composition of the xylem sap was related to rainfall, rainfall infiltration and soil salinity. Periods of low rainfall and infiltration and higher soil salinity corresponded with increased allocation of N to proline and arginine in the xylem sap. The allocation of N to citrulline and asparagine increased following rainfall events where rain was calculated to have infiltrated sufficiently to decrease soil salinity. The relationship between nitrogenous composition of the xylem sap of C. glauca and soil salinity indicates that the analysis of xylem sap is an effective method for assessing changes in salinity stress in trees at a particular site over time. However, the composition of the xylem sap proved less useful as a comparative index of salinity stress in trees growing at different sites.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Copyright: © 2002 Heron Publishing
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/34183
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