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Study of ratio and speed germination of twelve medicinal plants under several treatments of salinity.


Environmental abiotic stress conditions, and especially drought and salinity, are currently the major factors that reduce crop yields worldwide. There are plants naturally adapted to conditions of high salinity in the soil. Seed germination, in particular, appears to be extremely sensitive to soil salinity [1][32]. Field salinization is a growing problem worldwide and is a major abiotic stress reducing the yield of a wide variety of crops all over the world [3,7]. The greater tolerance of germination may result from a lower uptake of NaCl by intact seeds, and hence, lower concentrations in the embryo axis. The genus Plantago from Plantaginaceae family appears to be a good model for comparative studies on the responses to salt stress and shows an intermediate degree of salt tolerance, growing at concentrations of up to 150mm NaCl [3,8] and could cumulatively remove considerable amounts of salt from the soil [21, 30]. The plants of Alyssum murale were exposed to salt (NaCl) solutions ranging between 0 mM and 100 mM in conjunction with either high or low concentrations of Ni or Zn [6,14]. Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) from Pedaliaceae family is one of the world's most important oilseed crops [18,27]. Oregano from Lamiaceae family is the most valued spice and the common name for a general aroma used worldwide as a seasoning [4,9,15,24]. It is also cultivated because of its uses as an herb and well adapted to dry land conditions and calcareous soils [24]. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum) from Leguminosae family has been used as a spice worldwide to enhance the sensory quality of foods, also known for its medicinal qualities [29]. Yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) has colonized within native communities that have been subjected to various types of human land use [23]. Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi L.) is a potential medicinal crop; it could be grown on salt-affected lands if it possesses high degree of salt tolerance. In this plant, increasing salt levels caused a significant reduction in fresh and dry masses [22]. Cumin (Cuminum cyminum Linn.), an important commercial seed spice belonging to the Umbellifereae family, is valued for its aroma, medicinal and therapeutic properties. Lallemanlia from Lamiaceae family use for leaves, oil, seed and traditional uses as reconstitute stimulant, diuretic and expectorant. Lallemanfia iberica cultivated for its seeds from which and oil is extracted [1,13]. This research monitored the effects of NaCl on seed germination and the growth of plants to give the best tolerated medicinal plants in salinity and drought region. Many researchers reported the destructive effects of salinity and decrease growth parameters for example Thymus broussonetii Boiss [5], Nigella sativa [7], Suaeda maritime [11], Artemisia annua L. [12], Schinopsis quebracho [17], Carthamus tinctorius L. [25], Lallemantia iberica [26] and Ocimum basilicum [2].


The seeds of medicinal plants were Plantago sp, Alyssum spp, Portulaca oleracea, Sesamum indicum, Origanum majorana, Trigonella foenum, Anethum graveolens, Melilotus officinalis, Trachyspermum ammi, Cuminum cyminum, Lactuca sativa and Lallemantia royleana that collected from medical fields. The treatments were 25, 50, 75,100,150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400 and 450 mM/lit NaCl plus a control treatment without salt. This investigation was conduct during 2012, an in vitro experiment with four replications by randomized complete design, in laboratory of faculty of agriculture Islamic Azad University established at Shahrekord (50[degrees]51'N 32[degrees]17'E) southwestern Iran. Before medicinal plants culture, each petri washed by alcohol and disinfected by fire, then put on stain paper. After disinfection seeds by 2000ppm Carboxin thiram treated. The temperature was 25[degrees]C, light was prepared. When water of Petri dish, relatively evaporated, the irrigation was conducted in field capacity. For each treatment, 100 plants in individual Petri dish by 4replications, to which the corresponding salt solution (or water, for the control) was add periodically, ensuring that the petri dish were maintained wet throughout the experiment. The number of seedling produced by each plant was count every day. Germination ratio and salt tolerance measured by following formula [13]:

Speed of Germination = [X.sub.1]/[Y.sub.1] + ([X.sub.2] - [X.sub.1])/[Y.sub.2] + ... + ([X.sub.n] - [X.sub.n- 1])/[Y.sub.n]

Results were analyzed statistically by analysis of variance using the SAS computer package and treatments mean separated using Duncan's multiple range test at p<0.05 level.


The results obtained from this experiment show that high salinity reduced germination ratio and speed of germination of all the seeds (Tables 1 and 2). However, most of seeds germinated onto a petri dish with wet filter paper. Over 60% of the seeds of in the control sample had already germinated after 2 week in the germination chamber (figure 2). This percentage increased to a maximum of 80% after the second week. However, germination frequency strongly affected by salinity, such that 4%, 1.5% and 12% of the seeds germinated for Plantago, Lallemantia royleana and Anethum graveolens respectively in the presence of 75mM/lit NaCl during the second week. During the second week, these amounts for Cuminum cyminum, Melilotus officinalis, Trachyspermum ammi and Origanum majoran in the presence of 150mM/lit NaCl were 15%, 23%, 2.75% and 1.75% respectively, for Lactuca sativa and Sesamum indicum in the presence of 200mM/lit NaCl were 25.5% and 1.5% respectively and in Trigonella foenum, Alyssum spp and Portulaca oleracea in the presence of 400mM/lit NaCl were 0.75%, 1.5% and 2.25% respectively. No further germination observed over the course of the experiment. Germination completely inhibited in the presence of higher salt concentrations (500mM/lit NaCl) (figures 1, 2). There were significant differences between amount of germinated seeds and speed of germination per treatments (table1, 2). Compared to the control, a significant decline in the germination ratio was observed in the first to last sampling (at 120 DAS) from plants treated with NaCl, and they had slow germination speed (figure 2). The data in tables 1 and 2 show that each concentration of NaCl caused a significant decrease in germination ratio and speed of germination, also higher concentrations of NaCl were significantly increased the time of germination in all of the seeds (figures 1, 2).




Fresh weight and dry mass yield of plants slightly decreased as the salinity increased [5,19,31]. Yield and biomass reductions are very common under salt stress conditions, especially for salt-sensitive crops, due to osmotic effects and ionic imbalances [2,10,22]. High concentration of NaCl in lettuce in nutrient solution strongly affected the germination rate and root elongation, seedling and mature vegetative growth of both sesame and lettuce [18,19]. Reproductive success was maximal in plants of Plantago grown in non-saline conditions, or in the presence of 100 mM/lit NaCl, but it was negatively affected by higher salinities. Salt tolerance increased with the age of the plants [21]. In Trachyspermum, the adverse effect of salt was more pronounced on seed yield than biomass production at the vegetative stage. The reduction in shoot dry biomass of T.ammi at the highest salt level with respect to control was about 27%, whereas that in seed yield was almost 50%. [22]. Seed germination and seedling emergence of Trigonella foenum decreased significantly under NaCl concentrations (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mM/lit) that similar by results of Manchanda and Garg [16] and Nichols et al., [20]. In this research, plants of Melilotus officinalis were tolerant up to 200mM/lit NaCl and high relative salt and water logging tolerances, good production under non-stressed and stressed (saline and hypoxic) conditions [10,23]. This work has shown the effects of salinity of twelve medicinal plants. Lallemantia, Plantago and Dill were sensitive medicinal plants to salinity because were tolerating up to 100mM/lit NaCl [3,26,28]. The plants of Cuminum, Ammi, Clover and Oregano were tolerate up to 200mM/lit, the plants of lettuce and sesame were tolerant up to 250mM/lit, but the plants of Alyssum, purslane and fenugreek were the most tolerant to salinity (up to 450mM/lit NaCl). Many researchers showed that these plants are the best accumulators and salt resistant [6,8,14,21,29]. By increasing of salinity, seedling of medicinal plants decreased. Response to several salinity concentrations, depend of many reasons for example species of plant and osmotic regulation or thickness of crust seed. All plant factors measured in the study negatively affected by salinity. Trigonella foenum, Alyssum and Portulaca oleracea tolerated up to 450mM/lit. These plants had the best speed germination (figure1, table 2), in the other hand Lallemantia royleana, Plantago sp L. and Anethum graveolens were very sensitive to salinity and did not observed any seedling of them at 100mM/lit. Least speed germination observed in Cuminum cyminum (figure1, table 2). Amount of seedling of medicinal plants were significant (table 1). In the present experiment, percentage of number of seed germinated in medicinal plants was affected more than speed of germination by salt stress and this led to lesser germination ratio (tables 1-2 and figures 1-2). Reduction in cumulative germination percentage as well as increase in the time required for germination with increase in salinity (figure 1) may be attributed to reduced imbibitions of seeds induced by low substrate osmotic potentials, induction of secondary dormancy or specific ion effects. A prolonged germination period at higher salinities distributes the risk for the newly germinated seedling in a changing environment.


This study showed that salinity concentrations can affect on germination ratio and germination speed. The plants of Alyssum, Purslane and Fenugreek were very tolerant to salinity but the plants of Lallemantia royleana, Plantago sp and Anethum graveolens were very sensitive. In this research observed that increasing of concentration of NaCl made decreasing and delaying in germination. Seeds of Cuminum cyminum had the thickness crust resulted delay in water absorption and then this plant in studied plants had the least germination speed. In conclusion, NaCl hampers growth parameters at each concentration.


Article history:

Received 12 October 2013

Received in revised form 18

December 2013

Accepted 29 December 2013

Available online 3 April 2014


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Mehrab Yadegari

Department of Agronomy and Medicinal Plants, Faculty of Agriculture, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord Branch, Shahrekord, Iran.

Corresponding Author: Mehrab Yadegari, Department of Agronomy and Medicinal Plants, Faculty of Agriculture, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord Branch, Shahrekord, Iran. Tel: +98 9133814318-Fax: +98
Table 1: Analysis of variance of percentage of number of
seed germinated in medicinal plants of Lallemantia royleana,
Plantago sp L., and Anethum graveolens (up to 100mM/lit),
Cuminum cyminum, Trachyspermum ammi, Melilotus officinalis,
and Origanum majoran (up to 200mM/lit), Lactuca sativa and
Sesamum indicum (up to 250mM/lit) Alyssum spp, Portulaca
oleracea and Trigonella foenum (up to 450mM/lit).

S.O.V   D.F   Fenugreek   purslane    Allvsum

                 M.S        M.S         M.S

T        4    5169.7 **   897.1 **   3048.6 **
Error   15      27.7       190.4       23.4
C.V%            12.4        21.2       17.5

S.O.V   D.F    Sesame      Lettuce

                 M.S         M.S

T       11    1984.7 **   1795.9 **
Error   36      62.7        129.5
C.V%            24.2        17.2

S.O.V   D.F   Oregano    Clover       Ammi       Cuminum

                M.S        M.S         M.S         M.S

T        7    210 **    1829.9 **   1153.9 **   1614.3 **
Error   24     18.5       538.5       72.9       47.6 .
C.V%           23.2        25         24.2        17.7

S.O.V   D.F     Dill      Plantago    Lallemantia

                 M.S         M.S          M.S

T        6    1771.2 **   2083.3 **    305.5 **
Error   21      134.4       74.3           2
C.V%            23.2         25          17.7

Table 2: Analysis of variance of speed of germination
in medicinal plants of Lallemantia royleana, Plantago
sp L., and Anethum graveolens (up to 100mM/lit), Cuminum
cyminum, Trachyspermum ammi, Melilotus officinalis, and
Origanum majoran (up to 200mM/lit), Lactuca sativa and
Sesamum indicum (up to 250mM/lit) Alyssum spp, Portulaca
oleracea and Trigonella foenum (up to 450mM/lit)

S.O.V   D.F   Fenugreek   purslane   Allysum

                 M.S        M.S        M.S

T        4     3352 **    884.8 **   2151 **
E       15       9.6         12        21
C.V%             14         5.5        1.2

S.O.V   D.F    Sesame     Lettuce

                M.S         M.S

T       11    106.9 **   1785.5 **
E       36      0.2        30.5
C.V%            3.4         9.8

S.O.V   D.F   Oregano   Clover     Ammi     Cuminum

                M.S       M.S       M.S       M.S

T        7    8.7 **    79.9 **   18.9 **   9.9 **
E       24     0.03       8.5      0.06      0.05
C.V%           14.4       2.8       9.6       8.8

S.O.V   D.F    Dill     Plantago   Lallemantia

                M.S       M.S          M.S

T        6    90.2 **    41.9**      65.2 **
E       21      0.8       0.04        0. 9
C.V%            4.5       8.2          5.3
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Author:Yadegari, Mehrab
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Feb 1, 2014
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