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Plant Physiol. 1991 Nov;97(3):990-7.

Ion Relations of Symplastic and Apoplastic Space in Leaves from Spinacia oleracea L. and Pisum sativum L. under Salinity.

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Lehrstuhl Botanik I, Universität Würzburg, Mittlerer Dallenbergweg 64, 8700 Würzburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


Salt tolerant spinach (Spinacia oleracea) and salt sensitive pea (Pisum sativum) plants were exposed to mild salinity under identical growth conditions. In order to compare the ability of the two species for extra- and intracellular solute compartmentation in leaves, various solutes were determined in intercellular washing fluids and in aqueously isolated intact chloroplasts. In pea plants exposed to 100 millimolar NaCl for 14 days, apoplastic salt concentrations in leaflets increased continuously with time up to 204 (Cl(-)) and 87 millimolar (Na(+)), whereas the two ions reached a steady concentration of only 13 and 7 millimolar, respectively, in spinach leaves. In isolated intact chloroplasts from both species, sodium concentrations were not much different, but chloride concentrations were significantly higher in pea than in spinach. Together with data from whole leaf extracts, these measurements permitted an estimation of apoplastic, cytoplasmic, and vacuolar solute concentrations. Sodium and chloride concentration gradients across the tonoplast were rather similar in both species, but spinach was able to maintain much steeper sodium gradients across the plasmamembrane compared with peas. Between day 12 and day 17, concentrations of other inorganic ions in the pea leaf apoplast increased abruptly, indicating the onset of cell disintegration. It is concluded that the differential salt sensitivity of pea and spinach cannot be traced back to a single plant performance. Major differences appear to be the inability of pea to control salt accumulation in the shoot, to maintain steep ion gradients across the leaf cell plasmalemma, and to synthesize compatible solutes. Perhaps less important is a lower selectivity of pea for K(+)/Na(+) and NO(3) (-)/Cl(-) uptake by roots.

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