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Determining salinity threshold level for Castor bean emergence and stand establishment

Zhou, G., Ma, B.L., Li, J., Feng, C., Lu, J., Qin, P. (2010). Determining salinity threshold level for Castor bean emergence and stand establishment, 50(5), 2030-2036. http://dx.doi.org/10.2135/cropsci2009.09.0535

Abstract

Castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) is grown on marginal lands that can be prone to having medium to high salt concentrations. This study was done to identify a salinity threshold level for castor bean emergence and stand establishment. Seedlings were first cultured in organic matter-soil mixed media at different salinity levels (0.5, 3.6, 7.1, 10.4, and 13.6 dS m-1) and then transplanted into pots filled with soils at similar salinity levels (0.4, 3.6, 7.1, 10.4, and 13.6 dS m-1). Emergence, survival, seedling growth, nutrient accumulation, and leaf photosynthetic parameters were determined. The salinity threshold level was identified at 7.1 dS m-1 At this salinity level or lower, the emergence rate and survival rate reached 75% or higher; and seedling growth, nutrient accumulation, and leaf photosynthetic parameters were not severely affected. As the salinity level increased to 10.4 and 13.6 dS m-1, emergence rate dropped to below 70%, and survival rate below 50%. Photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance were reduced by up to 66% and chlorophyll reading by up to 24%. Nutrient uptake and accumulation were also significantly reduced at these two salinity levels. Our results indicate that castor bean could be cultured in plastic seedling trays filled with organic matter-soil mixed seedling media and then transplanted into conventional soils provided that the salinity levels in seedling media and conventional soils are ≤7.1 dS m-1. © Crop Science Society of America.

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