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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ORGANIC AND REDUCED INPUT FRESH MARKET SPECIALTY CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS Title: Salinity on survival and early development of biofuel feedstock crops

Author
item Russo, Vincent

Submitted to: International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2010
Publication Date: December 3, 2010
Citation: Russo, V.M. 2010. Salinity on survival and early development of biofuel feedstock crops. International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences. 1(2):64-69.

Interpretive Summary: Biofuel feedstock crop production is increasing and crops are sometimes being established in areas where salinity could be a limiting factor. Establishment in any crop is important but many biofuel feedstock crops are annuals that require seed be placed in direct contact with soil to become established. Affects of salinity on early development of biofuel feedstock crops need to be clarified. A greenhouse experiment was established and the biofuel feedstock crops canola, sorghum, and sunflower; and the potential feedstock crop sweet corn were treated with NaCl at 0, 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 M in water once at: 1) planting; 2) plant emergence (7-10 days after planting) or 3) first true leaf expansion. An additional treatment (4) comprised of one-half strength of the 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 M (concentrations 0.05, 0.25, 0.5 M at each application) was applied at first true leaf expansion and four days later. Survival of most crops decreased above 0.5 M; survival of canola decreased above 0.1 M. Occasionally timing of application affected early plant development. For canola root dry weight was improved when application was at plant emergence; for sorghum top and root fresh weights were improved when the split application was used, when application was at planting root dry weight was improved over most other timing applications. Sweet corn root fresh weight was improved when the split application was used. If the plants can survive they appear to be able to adjust to saline level during the early stages of development.

Technical Abstract: Plant survival, growth and development can be influenced by irrigation water salinity level. Affects of salinity on early development of biofuel feedstock crops need to be clarified. The biofuel feedstock crops canola (Brassica napus L.), sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.); and the potential feedstock crop sweet corn (Zea mays L.) were treated with aqueous solutions containing 0, 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 M NaCl once at: 1) planting; 2) plant emergence (7-10 days after planting) or 3) first true leaf expansion. An additional treatment (4) comprised of one-half strength of the 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 M (concentrations 0.05, 0.25, 0.5 M at each application) was applied at first true leaf expansion and four days later. Survival was determined and plant development monitored. Survival of most crops decreased below 90% above 0.5 M; survival of canola decreased above 0.1 M. Timing of application had little effect on survival of crops. Occasionally timing of application affected early plant development. For canola root dry weight was improved when application was at plant emergence; for sorghum top and root fresh weights were improved when the split application was used, when application was at planting root dry weight was improved over most other timing applications. Sweet corn root fresh weight was improved when the split application was used. If the plants can survive they appear to be able to adjust to saline level during the early stages of development.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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