Identification of Durum Wheat Salt Tolerance Sources in Elite Tunisian Varieties and a Targeted FIGS Subset from ICARDA Gene Bank: Non-Destructive and Easy Way

Ramzi Chaabane, Abdelkader Saidi, Houcine Bchini, Moufida Sassi, Moustapha Rouissi, Amani Ben Naceur, Sarra Sayouri, M’barek Ben Naceur, Inagaki Masanori, Abdallah Bari, Ahmed Amri


The success of durum wheat breeding program for salt tolerance improvement depends on sources of tolerance, the screening method and the selection of target traits. In this study, we used morpho-physiological traits to elucidate the phenotypic and genetic variation in salinity tolerance of a 50 internationally derived durum wheat genotypes. Four Australian lines containing salt tolerance Nax genes from CSIRO (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia); six Tunisian old and new cultivars (Kerim, Khiar, Maali, Mahmoudi, Nasr and Selim) and forty ICARDA’s gene bank landraces selected basing on FIGS Method (Focused Identification of Germplasm Strategy) were evaluated in semi controlled conditions at the INRAT Ariana experimental station. Significant genotypic variation and Pearson's correlations were found among the evaluated traits. The data were converted to salt tolerance indexes (STI) before statistical analysis.

The high positive and significantly correlation of STI of grain yield and those of tillering (r=0.46), mean daily evapotranspiration (r=0.46), shoot dry weight (r=0.74), number of spikes per plant (r=0.74), spike length (r=0.30), thousand grain weight (r=0.36) and the chlorophyll content at 79 day after sowing (r=0.30) indicated that salt stress induces a high reduction in these parameters, leading to the reduction in grain yield. Therefore we can consider these parameters as the most relevant for salinity tolerance screening criterion in durum wheat breeding programs. Among the analysed genotypes the ICARDA’s landrace IG-85714 from Greece showed better performances under salt stress. Among the analysed Tunisian varieties Maali and Nasr exhibited some level of tolerance. Approximately half of the analysed genotypes showed a moderate to high level of salt tolerance. These are the first sources for the salt tolerance in durum wheat identified in the ICARDA gene bank. This demonstrated that FIGS was effective for sampling large ex situ germplasm collections when seeking novel genetic sources of salt tolerance. 


traits; screening; salinity; durum wheat; landraces; gene bank.

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