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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2016, Vol. 15 Issue (7): 1499-1509    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(15)61325-9
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Comprehensive evaluation of tolerance to alkali stress by 17 genotypes of apple rootstocks
ZHANG Kun-xi1*, WEN Tian1*, DONG Jun1, MA Feng-wang1, BAI Tuan-hui2, WANG Kun3, LI Cui-ying1
1 State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas/College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, P.R.China
2 College of Horticulture, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, P.R.China
3 Institute of Pomology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Xingcheng 125100, P.R.China
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Abstract      Alkaline soils have a great influence on apple production in Northern China. Therefore, comprehensive evaluations of tolerance to such stress are important when selecting the most suitable apple rootstocks. We used hydroponics culturing to test 17 genotypes of apple rootstocks after treatment with 1:1 Na2CO3 and NaHCO3. When compared with the normally grown controls, stressed plants produced fewer new leaves, and had shorter roots and shoots and lower fresh and dry weights after 15 d of exposure to alkaline conditions. Their root/shoot ratios were also reduced, indicating that the roots had been severely damaged. For all stressed rootstocks, electrolyte leakage (EL) and the concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA) increased while levels of chlorophyll decreased. Changes in root activity (up or down), as well as the activities of peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) were rootstock-dependent, possibly reflecting their differences in alkali tolerance. Using alkali injury index (AI), adversity resistance coefficients (ARC), cluster analysis, and evaluation of their physiological responses, we classified these 17 genotypes into three groups: (1) high tolerance: Hubeihaitang, Wushanbianyehaitang, Laoshanhaitang Ls2, Xiaojinbianyehaitang, and Fupingqiuzi; (2) moderate tolerance: Pingyitiancha, Laoshanhaitang Ls3, Hubeihaitang A1, Deqinhaitang, Balenghaitang, Maoshandingzi, Shandingzi, and Xinjiangyepingguo; or (3) low tolerance: Pingdinghaitang, Hongsanyehaitang, Xiaojinhaitang, and Sanyehaitang. These results will significantly contribute to the selection of the most suitable materials for rootstocks with desired levels of tolerance to alkali stress.
Keywords:  alkali stress        apple rootstock        alkali tolerance  
Received: 24 November 2015   Accepted:

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31401830), the Chinese Universities Scientific Fund (QN2011006), and the Talent Special Fund of Northwest A&F University, China (Z111020904). The authors sincerely thank Sha Guangli (Qingdao Academy of Agricultural Science, China) for providing seeds and Guan Qingmei (College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, China) for modifying this article.

Corresponding Authors:  LI Cui-ying, E-mail:   
About author:  ZHANG Kun-xi, E-mail:; WEN Tian, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

ZHANG Kun-xi, WEN Tian, DONG Jun, MA Feng-wang, BAI Tuan-hui, WANG Kun, LI Cui-ying. 2016. Comprehensive evaluation of tolerance to alkali stress by 17 genotypes of apple rootstocks. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 15(7): 1499-1509.

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