The interaction between salinity and nitrogen (N) forms and concentration was studied with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) grown in pots with fine sand under greenhouse conditions. Salinity (0–100 mM NaCl) caused a substantial reduction in carbon assimilation rate, stomatal conductance, water use efficiency, and leaf area, while transpiration rate was least affected. Salinity effects were considerably moderated by additional N supply, varied with form, concentration, and stage of plant growth. The photosynthesis was reduced more in ammonium- than in nitrate-fed plants, while the transpiration rate was relatively lower in nitrate-fed plants grown either with or without NaCl. The plants also responded differently to salinity and N levels at two harvests. This indicated a change in plant behaviour with age. The promotive effect of N on photosynthesis and other parameters in saline as well as in non-saline conditions may be attributed to the enhanced synthesis and availability of carbon assimilatory enzymes and cofactors required for optimal photosynthesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science