Effect of calcium and potassium nutrition on yield, ion content, and salt tolerance of Brassica campestris (rapa)

Richard Collins, Phil Harris, Mark J. Bateman, J Henderson

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    When plants encounter salinity, growth is reduced initially by water stress and subsequently by toxic levels of ions and by interference with nutrient acquisition and translocation. Calcium (Ca2 +) in particular seems to have an important role in salt tolerance and there are reports of a beneficial effect of increasing Ca2 + availability. Higher potassium (K+) concentrations in plants may also improve salinity tolerance as sodium (Na)+/K+ ratios have been shown to be important. Previous work with a range of Acacia species has suggested that endogenous seed Ca2 + and K+ concentrations might influence salinity tolerance at germination, but this has not previously been tested with a single species. The objectives of this investigation were thus to determine whether (1) altered Ca2 + and K+ nutrition of Brassica campestris (rapa) L. plants affects the yield and ion content of their seeds, and (2) seeds with different Ca2 + and K+ contents differ in their salinity tolerance. Plants were grown in a growth room or greenhouse in (1) Gem® horticultural sand (2) Silvaperl® perlite and sand (2:1), or (3) Shamrock® Medium General Purpose Irish Sphagnum Peat and Vermiperl® vermiculite (1:1). Plants in each growth substrate were supplied with nutrient solutions based on a modified Hoagland's solution as a control, low Ca2 + and low K+ solutions containing those elements at half the control strength, but all other mineral elements as far as possible at control strength, and high Ca2 + and high K+ solutions containing those elements at double control strength but all other mineral elements, as far as possible, at control strength. An increase in substrate available Ca2 + and K+ resulted in increased Ca2 + and K+ concentration in seeds, respectively, and was accompanied by a reduction in seed K+ and Ca2 +, respectively. The Ca2 + and K+ concentrations of seeds affected their salinity tolerance. Increases in seed Ca2 +, K+ or Ca2 ++ K+ concentrations decreased salinity tolerance at germination. The results, especially in terms of Ca2 + nutrition, contradict previous results of an increased salinity tolerance with increased Ca2 + and/or K+ concentrations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1461-1481
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition
    Issue number8
    Early online date9 Jul 2008
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


    • Brassica campestris (rapa)
    • calcium
    • plant nutrition
    • potassium
    • salinity tolerance
    • seed germination


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