Salt stress in pulses: A learning from global research on salinity in crop plants
Keywords: Pulse crops, salinity stress, tolerance, mechanism, genetics
AbstractPulse crops are overly sensitive to salinity stress as compared to cereals and other crops. The growth, development and yield of the pulses are severely affected by high concentration of salts accumulated in the soil due to inadequate drainage or other reasons. However, some of the pulse species have developed adaptive mechanism to overcome the salinity stress and hence, thorough screening of the germplasm through hydroponics or field testing is essential to identify the potential genotypes. Several costeffective techniques of mitigating the salt stress including the physical, chemical and biological approaches have been analyzed and discussed. The mechanism of salinity stress and plant's response towards changes in morphological, physiological, biochemical and molecular features have been delineated in detail. Effective breeding approaches and progress in development of salt tolerant pulse crops have been highlighted. However, current leads in understanding the mechanism of salt stress and the genotypes developed may not be sufficient to enhance the productivity and availability of the pulse crops. The kind of efforts needed to improve pulse crops are rare and hence, require special attention. Therefore, integration of the traditional and modern breeding approaches including 'omics' technologies and biological agents are needed to address the issue of salt stress effectively. The development of stress tolerant pulse crops through genetic engineering has also shown promise. High-quality genotypic and phenotypic data including high throughput imaging approaches might lead to proper understanding of the mechanism of salt tolerance which in turn would help designing effective breeding programme for the development of pulse crops tolerant to salinity stress.
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