The validity of using juvenile stages for evaluation of salt stress tolerance of Triticum durum genotypes
The aim of this work was to evaluate eight North African wheat genotypes (Triticum durum) on the basis of their salt stress tolerance. The effect of this abiotic constraint was investigated at tillering stage using hydroponic culture. Some growth and development parameters were measured between three and six leaves stages and also at harvest. Data were submitted to a comparative canonic analysis followed by a hierarchical cluster analysis within both aforementioned stages. Some old Tunisian varieties, such as Mahmoudi who was almost completely abandoned in cereal culture, showed more tolerance to stressful conditions than the new and standard productive varieties. This aptitude to tolerate salt was observed as well in the beginning and at the end of plant development cycle. We concluded that some measures at juvenile stage may be used as valid genetic discrimination tool, leading to time and space gain in breeding programs.
Key words: Triticum durum, salt stress tolerance, juvenile stage, evaluation.