Root halotropism: Salinity effects on Bassia indica root

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31 Scopus citations


Plant roots are responsible for the acquisition of nutrients and water from the soil and have an important role in plant response to soil stress conditions. The direction of root growth is gravitropic in general. Gravitropic responses have been widely studied; however, studies about other root tropisms are scarce. Soil salinity is a major environmental response factor for plants, sensed by the roots and affecting the whole plant. Our observations on root architecture of Kochia (Bassia indica) indicated that salinity may cue tropism of part of the roots toward increasing salt concentrations. We termed this phenomenon "positive halotropism". It was observed that Kochia individuals in the field developed horizontal roots, originating from the main tap root, which was growing toward saline regions in the soil. Under controlled conditions in greenhouse experiments, Kochia plants were grown in pots with artificial soil salinity gradients, achieved by irrigation with saline and fresh water. It was shown that plants grown in low-salt areas developed a major horizontal root toward the higher salt concentration region in the gradient. In regions of high salinity and in the absence of a salinity gradient, roots grew vertically without a major horizontal root. The novel finding of "positive halotropism" is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-478
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Biosystems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2010


  • Bassia indica
  • Halophyte
  • Halotropism
  • Root biomass
  • Root branching
  • Salt stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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