Salinity and sodicity are the common soil and water problems reducing plant growth around the world including Pakistan. "Salt affected soils" include the saline soils that have lethal levels of soluble salts and the sodic soils that have excessive levels of exchangeable sodium. Sodic soils constitute about 60 percent of the world’s salt affected area, which is over 800 million hectares. The use of saline-sodic soils and waters in agriculture seems inevitable to feed and improve the livilihood of the people of the affected areas. In spite of the wide co-occurrence of salinity and sodicity, the genetic and physiological studies on plants usually considers salinity alone. The genetic improvement in the salt tolerance of cereals has not been translated from the laboratory to the field successfully possibly due to lack of sodicity consideration in the laboratory studies.
Identification of the salt tolerant genetic resources and understanding the basis of their salt tolerance is a key for the development of salt tolerant plants. These plants are not only required for using the salt-affected soils and waters but also for the sustainability of the irrigation systems threatened by secondary salinity. This project aims to identify salt-resitant and sensitive wheat genotypes from the available genetic material from national and international institutes. It aims to study the root and rhizosphere related mechanisms of salt resistance of different wheat genotypes. The growth, ion uptake and the activities of H+-ATPases of seminal, and nodal roots of salt resistant and sensitive wheat genotypes will be studied. The successful completion of this project will give us information about the mechanisms of salt tolerance in wheat. The identified genotypes will be useful for the farmers and the scientific infromation generated will be helpful in developing wheat genotypes for the salt affected areas.
- To characterize salinity and sodicity resistant wheat genotypes and to understand the basis of their resistance.
- To study locally and internationally available wheat germplasm and to select the salt-resistant and sensitive genotypes.
- To study the growth and Na+ uptake of seminal and nodal roots and, plant Na+ transport in the selected genotypes in response to salinity.
- To study the performance of selected wheat genotypes in saline sodic soils and waters in pots and salt affected field.
Expected benefits/ Recommendations
- The scientific information from this project will improve our understanding of the salinity x sodicity tolerance and will be helpful in developing plants needed to use the salt-affected soils and waters and for the sustainability of irrigation systems.
- The wheat genotypes identified in this project will be available to the farmers of the salt affected areas and will be helpful in improving the yields from the salt affected soils and waters.
- The successful use of the scientific information and the identified genotypes will improve the livelihood of the people of the salt-affected areas around the world.
- The farmers of salt-affected areas are recommended to grow salt-tolerant cultivars of wheat and other crops for good production from salt-affected soils.