Sand dune ecosystems are one of the areas most affected by the introduction of invasive species which represents a threat for biodiversity conservation. Their invasion patterns and spread may depend on their salinity tolerance, besides other factors. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the effects of salt stress on seed germination and on the activity of antioxidant enzymes (catalase, CAT; ascorbate peroxidase, APX; peroxidase, POX; and glutathione reductase, GR) in two legume species, an invasive, Acacia longifolia (Andrews.) Willd., and a native, Ulex europaeus (L.), very common in the sand dunes of the coast of Portugal. Salt stress was induced by adding NaCl at different concentrations, 0, 50, 100 and 200 mM, for 15 days. Results showed that the highest germination percentages were obtained in distilled water (control) and that, with increasing salt concentration, seed germination was delayed and decreased in both species. Inhibition of germination was higher in the native species, only 3% of seeds germinated at 100 mM and no seeds germinated at 200 mM NaCl. In the invasive species, the reduction was higher at 200 mM NaCl (16%). Considering the coefficient of germination velocity, a decrease in both species with increasing NaCl concentration was observed. The CAT and GR activities decreased in A. longifolia with increasing salinity. In turn, APX activity significantly increased as NaCl concentration increased while the POX activities declined at the highest NaCl concentration. On the other hand, at 50 mM NaCl lower activity of CAT and APX and higher GR and POX were found in U. europaeus. In both species, protein content increased as NaCl concentration increased. In addition, it seems that APX activities play an essential role in the scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS). These results suggest that the seeds of the invasive legume A. longifolia are more tolerant to salinity than the native legume U. europaeus, and seem better equipped to handle the physiological stress of high salinity, which may contribute to its invasive ability in sand dunes.
|Titolo:||Does salt stress increase the ability of the exotic legume Acacia longifolia to compete with native legumes in sand dune ecosystems?|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|