Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Regional Research Center in Oasis Agriculture of Degache, road of Tozeur Km1, 2260 Degache, Tunisia

2 2UR13AGR09- Integrated Horticultural Production in the Tunisian Centre East, Regional Centre of Research on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, University of Sousse, 4042, Chott –Mariem, Tunisia

3 High Institutes of Sciences and Techniques of Water, Gabes –Tunisia

Abstract

Purpose: In Oasis areas, salinity becomes a real threat for sustainable agricultural production, and with the introduction of non-native varieties, salinity pressure is more expressed and has harmful outcomes to the local ecosystem and biodiversity. In this context the present study was conducted to compare salt stress behavior of local oasian and introduced cultivars. Research method: Seeds of two local oasian cultivars namely Djerid (Dj) and Nefta (Ne) and one exotic cultivar namely Cayenne (Ca) were treated with four salt concentrations (0; 2.5; 5 and 7g/l NaCl). Salt stress responses were evaluated using germination parameters and early seedling growth. Findings: Results revealed that the increase of salinity level had negatively effect on germination and early seedling for the three cultivars. However oasian cultivars were found to be the most tolerant to salinity. Ne cultivar showed the highest germination percentage and germination index and the lowest mean germination time at 7g/l NaCl concentration. Also, “Ne” performs better on seedling traits as indicated by the less effect of the high salinity on radicle and plumule length as well as plumule fresh weight, compared to the other cultivars. The introduced cultivar “Ca” was identified to be the most sensitive to salt stress. Limitations: No limitations were founded. Originality/Value: This study valorized the autochthone chili pepper cultivars by highlighting their salt stress tolerance. Thus, oasian genotypes could be very useful as genetic resources for the development of chili pepper cultivars with improved germination and seedling growth under salt-stress conditions.

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