Location: Soil Management ResearchTitle: The dwarf saltwort (Salicornia bigelovii Torr.): Evaluation of breeding populations) Author
Submitted to: International Scholarly Research Network (ISRN)
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2012
Publication Date: 7/9/2012
Publication URL: handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/54256
Citation: Jaradat, A.A., Shahid, M. 2012. The dwarf saltwort (Salicornia bigelovii Torr.): Evaluation of breeding populations. International Scholarly Research Network (ISRN) Agronomy. DOI:10.5402/2012/151537. Interpretive Summary: The dwarf saltwort, also known as glasswork, pickle weed, or Salicornia, is one of the most salt-tolerant wild plants found naturally growing in coastal marshes of North America. Natural populations were collected and evaluated for their biomass, seed and forage production. The wild species was identified as a candidate for domestication to develop crop plants for several purposes. These include high quality oil, renewable bioenergy, green vegetable, and carbon sequestration. Selections were made from natural populations to develop salt-tolerant varieties that can be irrigated with seawater. We carried out detailed evaluation of about 1,000 selected plants for 15 plant and seed traits. We identified plants appropriate for large seed or large biomass production using seawater or brackish water with high salinity for irrigation. We identified populations and families within populations with favorable combinations of traits that are suitable for the development of Salicornia varieties for biomass, seed, or green vegetable production. Potentially, these can be used by farmers in small-scale vegetable production, in large-scale biomass and oilseed renewable bioenergy production, or for reclamation of saline lands.
Technical Abstract: Breeding populations of the dwarf saltwort (Salicornia bigelovii Torr. [Chenopodiaceae]) have been evaluated under high seawater salinity (45 dS m-1) for phenotypic, morphometric, biomass and seed traits in an effort to select suitable families and genotypes within families for breeding purposes and to develop genotypes for biomass, seed, and vegetable production using sea and brackish water and marginal coastal land resources. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were employed to study the genetic variation and trait relationships among and within populations. The largest variation between populations was found for harvest index and the smallest for number of spikes per plant; however, a more complex structure of variance was found when fixed and random factors were considered. Multivariate relationships between and within architectural and fitness-related traits suggest that biomass and seed yield gains can be achieved by manipulating plant architecture. Discriminant analyses between populations resulted in populations being correctly (mean 83%) classified, and the partial least squares regression modeling predicted seed yield (R2=0.65; p<0.02) more accurately than plant dry weight (R2=0.46; p<0.05). We identified populations and families within populations with favorable combinations of phenotypic and morphometric traits that are suitable for the development of Salicornia varieties for biomass, seed, or green vegetable production.