Halophytic


A halophyte is a plant that grows in waters of high salinity, coming into contact with saline water through its roots or by salt spray, such as in saline semi-deserts, mangrove swamps, marshes and sloughs, and seashores. An example of a halophyte is the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass). Relatively few plant species are halophytes - perhaps only 2% of all plant species. The large majority of plant species are glycophytes, plants which are not salt-tolerant, and are damaged fairly easily by high salinity.[1]

One quantitative measure of salt tolerance is the "total dissolved solids" in irrigation water that a plant can tolerate. Sea water typically contains 40 grams per litre (g/l) of dissolved salts (mostly sodium chloride). Beans and rice can tolerate about 1-3 g/l, and are considered glycophytes (as are most crop plants). At the other extreme, Salicornia bigelovii (dwarf glasswort) grows well at 70 g/l of dissolved solids, and is a promising halophyte for use as a crop. [2] Plants such as barley (Hordeum vulgare) and the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) can tolerate about 5 g/l, and can be considered as marginal halophytes.[1]

Adaptation to saline environments by halophytes may take the form of salt tolerance (see halotolerance) or salt avoidance. Plants that avoid the effects of high salt even though they live in a saline environment may be referred to as facultative halophytes rather than 'true', or obligatory, halophytes.

For example, a short-lived plant species that completes its reproductive life cycle during periods (such as a rainy season) when the salt concentration is low would be avoiding salt rather than tolerating it. Or a plant species may maintain a 'normal' internal salt concentration by excreting excess salts through its leaves, by way of a hydathode, or by concentrating salts in leaves that later die and drop off.

Halophytes as biofuel

Main article: Biofuel

Some halophytes are being studied for use as "3rd generation" biofuel precursors.[3] Halophytes such as Salicornia bigelovii can be grown in harsh environments and typically do not compete with food crops for resources, making them promising sources of biodiesel[4] or bioalcohol.

See also

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.