Physiological Changes of Pepper Accessions in Response to Salinity and Water Stress

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New sources of water stress and salinity tolerances are needed for crops grown in marginal lands. Pepper is considered one of the most important crops in the world. Many varieties belong to the genus Capsicum spp., and display wide variability in tolerance/sensitivity terms in response to drought and salinity stress. The objective was to screen seven salt/drought-tolerant pepper accessions to breed new cultivars that could overcome abiotic stresses, or be used as new crops in land with water and salinity stress. Fast and effective physiological traits were measured to achieve the objective. The present study showed wide variability of the seven pepper accessions in response to both stresses. Photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and transpiration reduced mainly under salinity due to stomatal and non-stomatal (Na+  accumulation) constraints and, to a lesser extent, in the accessions grown under water stress. A positive relationship between CO2 fixation and fresh weight generation was observed for both stresses. Decreases in Ψs  and Ψw and increased proline were observed only when accessions were grown under salinity. However, these factors were not enough to alleviate salt effects and an inverse relation was noted between plant salt tolerance and proline accumulation. Under water stress, A31 was the least affected and A34 showed the best tolerance to salinity in terms of photosynthesis and biomass.

Lidia López-Serrano
Consuelo Penella
Alberto San Bautista
Salvador López-Galarza
Angeles Calatayud
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research