Authors:M. Gholipoor, K. Ghasemi-Golezani, F. R. Khooie, and M. Moghaddam
In order to investigate the effects of salinity on the early seedling growth of chickpea, four chickpea cultivars, Jam, Hashem (kabuli type: large seeded genotypes with light salmon colour), Kaka and Pirooz (desi type: small seeded genotypes with different colours), were grown in pots containing soils with 0.9 (control), 2.6 and 4.9 dSm-1 salinity. The shoot/root ratio of Pirooz was consistently reduced by increasing salinity at all sampling stages. Under saline conditions, the reduction in seedling growth, shoot water content, root and shoot K+ concentration and the increase in root and shoot Na+ concentration were more severe in the kabuli type than in desi type cultivars. Considering path coefficients, increasing seedling K+ concentration and uptake of water from the soil favoured salt-stressed seedling growth. Increasing K+ content alleviated the deleterious effects of root Na+ to a greater extent than that of shoot Na+. On the other hand, a higher percentage of the decrease in seedling growth as the result of Na+ was due to shoot K+ deficiency than to root K+ deficiency.