PhD ceremony: Ms. F.Z. Mostafa Ali, 11.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: The determinants of salinity tolerance in maize (Zea mays L.)
Promotor(s): prof.dr. J.T.M. Elzenga
Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
In her thesis Fatma Zaki Mostafa Ali has compared between the behaviour of three maize cultivars (SR15, Arizona 8601 and Delitop) which differ in their tolerance to salt stress. She proved that maize has different strategies for growth under salinity, which is either avoidance or survival. The Microelectrode ion Flux estimation (MIFE) technique is a unique tool which helped in identifying the different cation fluxes associated with salt stress, at tissue, cellular and for the first time at vacuolar level and therefore make it possible to determine the salt tolerance level between cultivars. A correlation was found by Mostafa Ali to link the dynamics of K+ (measured from root surface) and H+ (measured from protoplasts) transport in the tested cultivars, which suggest the role of the H+-Atpase in maintaining the plasma membrane charge stability. She modified the MIFE system to make it possible to study transport mechanisms on the vacuole level, Arizona 8601 exhibited a unique salt tolerant property which is vacuolar Na+/H+ anitport activity, this allows the plant to survive the high salt concentration. Also Mostafa Ali describes in her thesis how Arbuscular Mycorrhiza was able to improve the performance of maize under salt stress, and to increase the efflux of proton form the maize root surface. As a general conclusion, the determinants of salt tolerance in maize are genotypic dependent, which is summarized in the ability of the cultivar to tolerate either the ionic/osmotic phase of salt stress. In addition, the MIFE system can be a fast and reliable screening tool for salt tolerance in plants.
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Researchers Clemens Mayer and Danny Incarnato of the University of Groningen have been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant.
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