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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Morris, Minnesota » Soil Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #343389

Title: Salinity tolerance of germinating alternative oilseeds

item Matthees, Heather
item THOM, MATTHEW - University Of Minnesota
item Gesch, Russell - Russ
item Forcella, Frank

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/16/2018
Publication Date: 2/12/2018
Publication URL:
Citation: Matthees, H.L., Thom, M.D., Gesch, R.W., Forcella, F. 2018. Salinity tolerance of germinating alternative oilseeds. Industrial Crops and Products. 113:358-367.

Interpretive Summary: Several oilseed crops can provide ecosystem services such as improved water quality, reduced soil erosion, and food sources for pollinators. The oilseeds, winter camelina, pennycress, echium, cuphea, and calendula are adapted to grow well in the northern Great Plains. Soil salinity can to be an issue in the northern Great Plains, which can reduce crop growth. However, the tolerance of these alternative oilseeds to germination in saline soils is not well known. Therefore, seeds of these species were allowed to germinate in three salt solutions ranging from no salinity to very strongly saline. Winter camelina and cuphea germinated well under strongly saline conditions and are considered tolerant to soil salinity; whereas, pennycress and calendula germination was moderately tolerant to salinity. Echium germinated well under all salinity levels too. Therefore, these oilseeds show promise for growth in saline soils where traditional crops of the area may suffer. These alternative oilseeds will benefit producers with salt-affected soils by providing additional crops and revenue streams.

Technical Abstract: Integrating oilseed crops into rotations can improve soil health benefits, nutrient retention, and pollinator provisions. Field margins represent areas where incorporation of oilseeds is feasible. However in the northern Great Plains, field margins can oftentimes be areas of saline soil, which can impact seed germination and seedling establishment. Therefore, a replicated growth chamber experiment was used to determine winter camelina (Camelina sativa), winter pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.), echium (Echium plantogineum), cuphea (Cuphea viscosissima X Cuphea lanceolata), and calendula (Calendula officinalis) tolerance to germinating under saline conditions. A total of 50 seeds, replicated 3 times were germinated in petri dishes saturated with NaCl, CaCl, and Na2SO4 solution at 0, 2, 4, 8, and 16 dS m-1 in an incubator at constant 20°C. Fully germinated seeds were counted and removed daily for 7 days, followed by every other day for a total of 21 days. Final germination percent, corrected germination rate index, and germination velocity were calculated. Germination percent, corrected germination rate index and germination velocity were negatively affected by increases in salinity for camelina, pennycress, cuphea, and calendula. Echium germination was not impacted by salt or salinity level. Sodium based salts were more detrimental for camelina, pennycress, and calendula. Camelina and cuphea germination was tolerant to salinity, with average salinity thresholds of 8.0 and 3.1 dS m-1 and a 25% germination decline at 35.3 and 11.0 dS m-1, respectively. Pennycress and calendula germination was moderately tolerant to salinity with average salinity thresholds of 5.9 and 2.7 dS m-1 and a 25% germination decline at 9.4 and 7.7 dS m-1, respectively. These oilseeds show potential for adoption in saline soils.