Single and combined salinity and heat stresses impact yield and dead pericarp priming activity

Bupur Swetha, Jeevan R. Singiri, Nurit Novoplansky, Rohith Grandhi, Jansirani Srinivasan, Janardan Khadka, Ivan Galis, Gideon Grafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the face of climate change and the predicted increase in the frequency and severity of abiotic stresses (e.g., hot spell, salinity), we sought to investigate the effect of salinity (S), short episodes of high temperature (HS) and combination of salinity and high temperature (SHS), at the reproductive phase, on yield with a special focus on the properties of dead pericarps of Brassica juncea. Three interval exposures to HS resulted in massive seed abortion, and seeds from salt-treated plants germinated poorly. Germination rate and final germination of B. juncea seeds were slightly reduced in the presence of salt and SHS pericarp extracts. All pericarp extracts completely inhibited seed germination of tomato and Arabidopsis, but removal of pericarp extracts almost fully restored seed germination. Heat and salinity profoundly affected the accumulation of phytohormones in dead pericarps. Combined stresses highly reduced IAA and ABA levels compared with salt, and enhanced the accumulation of GA1, but abolished the positive effect of salt on the accumulation of GA4, JA and SA. Interestingly, pericarp extracts displayed priming activity and significantly affected seedling performance in a manner dependent on the species and on the origin of the pericarp. While control pericarps improved and reduced the seedlings’ performance of autologous and heterologous species, respectively, pericarps from salt-treated plants were harmless or improved heterologous seedling performance. Thus, the strategy employed by the germinating seed for securing resources is set up, at least partly, by the mother plant in conjunction with the maternal environment whose components are stored in the dead maternal organs enclosing the embryo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1627
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • Brassica juncea
  • Combined stresses
  • Dead pericarps
  • Phytohormones
  • Priming
  • Reproductive phase
  • Salinity
  • Seed abortion
  • Short episodes of high temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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