Gas Exchange and Chlorophyll Content of `Tifblue' Rabbiteye and `Sharpblue' Southern Highbush Blueberry Exposed to Salinity and Supplemental Calcium

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133
  • | 2 Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton, P.O. Drawer E, Overton, TX 75684
  • | 3 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133

`Tifblue' rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) and `Sharpblue' southern highbush blueberry (primarily V. corymbosum) were treated with 0, 25, or 100 Mm Na+ as Na2SO4 or NaC1, and 0, 1, 3, or 10 Mm supplemental Ca2+ in sand culture in the greenhouse. Greatest stomatal conductance (gs) and net assimilation (A) occurred in unsalinized `Tifblue' plants not given additional Ca2+. Stomatal conductance, A, transpiration (E), and xylem water potential(Ψ)of `Tifblue' and `Sharpblue' plants were all lowered as salinity increased, and these effects were more pronounced with NaCl than with Na2SO4. After 63 days, for plants given 100 Mm Na+ as NaCl, gs and net assimilation rate were reduced to only 10% of the unsalinized controls, while for plants salinized with 100 mm Na+ as Na2SO4, gs and A were 35% and 43%, respectively, of unsalinized controls. Leaf necrosis was more extensive on `Sharpblue' plants given NaCl than on `Tifblue' plants. Neither Ca2+ nor Na+ treatments led to severe chlorosis; reductions in leaf chlorophyll content were mainly due to necrosis. The Na+- induced reduction in gas exchange was associated with negative Ψw Ca2+ deficiency, or a combination of these factors. Additional factors leading to inhibition of gas exchange in NaCl- stressed plants include Cl- toxicity and leaf necrosis. Calcium supplements were unable to ameliorate NaCl damage in `Tifblue' or `Sharpblue' plants, possibly because of the inability of Ca2+ to counter Cl- entry and toxicity. In contrast, additional Ca2+ improved gs, A, Ψw, and leaf chlorophyll content of `Tifblue' plants that received Na2SO4. For plants treated with 25 mm Na+ as Na2SO4 and 1 mm Ca2+, gs was 1.5 to 2.5 times higher than in plants without added Ca2+. Low (1 mm) concentrations of Ca2+ were more effective in ameliorating the effects of 100 mm Na+ as Na2SO4. than were 3 or 10 mm Ca2+ supplements, possibly because higher Ca2+ concentrations damaged the metabolism of the calcifuge blueberry.

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