Digital Phenotyping to Delineate Salinity Response in Safflower Genotypes
journal contributionposted on 02.08.2021, 03:11 by E Thoday-Kennedy, S Joshi, Hans DaetwylerHans Daetwyler, Matthew HaydenMatthew Hayden, D Hudson, German SpangenbergGerman Spangenberg, Surya KantSurya Kant
Salinity is a major contributing factor to the degradation of arable land, and reductions in crop growth and yield. To overcome these limitations, the breeding of crop varieties with improved salt tolerance is needed. This requires effective and high-throughput phenotyping to optimize germplasm enhancement. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.), is an underappreciated but highly versatile oilseed crop, capable of growing in saline and arid environments. To develop an effective and rapid phenotyping protocol to differentiate salt responses in safflower genotypes, experiments were conducted in the automated imaging facility at Plant Phenomics Victoria, Horsham, focussing on digital phenotyping at early vegetative growth. The initial experiment, at 0, 125, 250, and 350 mM sodium chloride (NaCl), showed that 250 mM NaCl was optimum to differentiate salt sensitive and tolerant genotypes. Phenotyping of a diverse set of 200 safflower genotypes using the developed protocol defined four classes of salt tolerance or sensitivity, based on biomass and ion accumulation. Salt tolerance in safflower was dependent on the exclusion of Na+ from shoot tissue and the maintenance of K+ uptake. Salinity response identified in glasshouse experiments showed some consistency with the performance of representatively selected genotypes tested under sodic field conditions. Overall, our results suggest that digital phenotyping can be an effective high-throughput approach in identifying candidate genotypes for salt tolerance in safflower.