Salinity is one of the major abiotic environmental stress factors affecting plant growth and development. Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides [Munro)] Hack.) is an important warm-season turfgrass species with low turf maintenance requirements, but is sensitive to salinity stress. To explore salt tolerant germplasms in centipedegrass and better understand the growth and physiological responses of centipedegrass to salinity, we conducted anatomic observation and phytochemical quantification, examined growth parameters, and investigated photosynthetic machinery and antioxidant system in two phenotypically distinct centipedegrass accessions under NaCl salt stress. The morphophenotypical difference of the stems in the two accessions mainly depends on whether or not a thickened epidermal horny layer with purple colour was formed, which was caused by anthocyanin accumulation in the tissue. Successive salinity treatment was found to result in an inhibition of leaf growth, a marked decrease in photosynthesis, chlorophyll contents, and the maximal photochemical efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm). Under the same treatment, purple-stem accession (E092) showed a lower degree of inhibition or decrease than green-stem one (E092-1). With the exception of malondialdehyde level, both proline content and antioxidant enzymes were upregulated to a greater extent in E092 following exposure to salinity condition. Meanwhile, significant enhancements of anthocyanin accumulation and total protein synthesis were detected in E092 after salt treatment, but not in E092-1. These results demonstrated that E092 favor better accumulation of anthocyanins under salinity condition, which contribute to salt tolerance by adjusting physiological functions and osmotic balance, and better maintenance of high turf quality. Hence, genetic phenotype can be utilized as a key indicator in E. ophiuroides breeding for salt-tolerance.
Keywords: Anthocyanin; Centipedegrass; Eremochloa ophiuroides; Growth; Physiological response; Salt stress.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.