Biotech Updates

The Search for New Sources of Salt Tolerance in Carrots

April 10, 2019

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin assessed the diverse carrot germplasm's response to salinity stress and identified the salt-tolerant carrot germplasm that may be used by breeders. They also defined the appropriate screening criteria for assessing salt tolerance in germinating carrot seed. Their research is published in HortScience.

Lead scientists Adam Bolton and Philipp Simon emphasized that one of the effective ways to combat the effects of salinity stress in glycophytic crops like carrot is by identifying new genetic sources of tolerance and efficient phenotypic methods to develop salinity-tolerant cultivars.

"In previous studies, carrots have been characterized as a crop that is sensitive to salinity. This study evaluated a large collection of wild and cultivated carrot germplasm and confirmed that, in fact, many carrot cultivars are saline-sensitive during seed germination, but that many germplasm accessions evaluated were quite saline-tolerant. Interestingly, many of the more saline-tolerant carrots evaluated were cultivated carrots, perhaps reflecting unintentional selection by farmers that have been growing the crop with saline irrigation water. This study provides an optimistic outlook for breeding carrots with improved salinity tolerance during germination. Tolerance during seeding and later plant development will also be needed as salinity becomes a more serious challenge for farmers," Simon said.

Read the research article in HortScience.