Genetic variation in the root growth response of barley genotypes to salinity stress

Megan C. Shelden*, Ute Roessner, Robert E. Sharp, Mark Tester, Antony Bacic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We aimed to identify genetic variation in root growth in the cereal crop barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in response to the early phase of salinity stress. Seminal root elongation was examined at various concentrations of salinity in seedlings of eight barley genotypes consisting of a landrace, wild barley and cultivars. Salinity inhibited seminal root elongation in all genotypes, with considerable variation observed between genotypes. Relative root elongation rates were 60-90% and 30-70% of the control rates at 100 and 150mM NaCl, respectively. The screen identified the wild barley genotype CPI71284-48 as the most tolerant, maintaining root elongation and biomass in response to salinity. Root elongation was most significantly inhibited in the landrace Sahara. Root and shoot Na+ concentrations increased and K+ concentrations decreased in all genotypes in response to salinity. However, the root and shoot ion concentrations did not correlate with root elongation rates, suggesting that the Na+ and K+ concentrations were not directly influencing root growth, at least during the early phase of salt stress. The identification of genetic diversity in root growth responses to salt stress in barley provides important information for future genetic, physiological and biochemical characterisation of mechanisms of salinity tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-530
Number of pages15
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013


  • abiotic stress
  • cereals
  • osmotic stress
  • root elongation
  • salt tolerance
  • seminal roots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic variation in the root growth response of barley genotypes to salinity stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this