Comprehensive phenotypic analysis of rice (Oryza sativa) response to salinity stress

Inês S. Pires, Sónia Negrão, M. Margarida Oliveira, Michael D. Purugganan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Increase in soil salinity levels is becoming a major cause of crop yield losses worldwide. Rice (Oryza sativa) is the most salt-sensitive cereal crop, and many studies have focused on rice salinity tolerance, but a global understanding of this crop's response to salinity is still lacking. We systematically analyzed phenotypic data previously collected for 56 rice genotypes to assess the extent to which rice uses three known salinity tolerance mechanisms: shoot-ion independent tolerance (or osmotic tolerance), ion exclusion, and tissue tolerance. In general, our analyses of different phenotypic traits agree with results of previous rice salinity tolerance studies. However, we also established that the three salinity tolerance mechanisms mentioned earlier appear among rice genotypes and that none of them is predominant. Against the pervasive view in the literature that the K+/Na+ ratio is the most important trait in salinity tolerance, we found that the K+ concentration was not significantly affected by salt stress in rice, which puts in question the importance of K+/Na+ when analyzing rice salt stress response. Not only do our results contribute to improve our global understanding of salt stress response in an important crop, but we also use our results together with an extensive literature research to highlight some issues commonly observed in salinity stress tolerance studies and to propose solutions for future experiments.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Physiology


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