Water relation parameters were calculated from analysis of 92 pressure-volume isotherms of leaves of two olive varieties, `Leccino' and `Frantoio', measured after 4 weeks of salinity stress and 4 weeks of subsequent relief either in hydroponics or soil culture. `Frantoio' was more salt-tolerant than `Leccino', but no major differences in water relation parameters emerged between the two varieties. Increasing salinity from 0 to 200 mM NaCl decreased predawn leaf water potential from –0.5 MPa to –1.3 MPa, relative water content (RWC) from 97.6% to 89%, and leaf osmotic potential (Ψπ) from –2.0 to –3.5 MPa. Relative water content at turgor loss point (RWCtlp) was decreased from 89% to 85% (soil culture) and from 86% to 80% (hydroponic culture) in 0 to 200 mM CaCl-treated plants, respectively; a lower RWCtlp was also retained during the relief from salinity. Active osmotic adjustments induced by salinity was the result of accumulation of both inorganic ions and compatible solutes (e.g., mannitol). Maintenance of lower Ψπ and RWCtlp during relief indicated that salinized plants were better adapted to withstand further stress and that this potential might be exploited to harden olive plants to be used in arid or saline environments.
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