Environmental and Experimental Botany xxx (2012) xxx– xxx
In the face of diminishing fresh water resources and increasing soil salinisation it is relevant to evaluate the potential of halophytic plant species to be cultivated in arid and semi arid regions, where the productivity of most crop plants is markedly affected. Quinoa is a facultative halophytic plant species with the most tolerant varieties being able to cope with salinity levels as high as those present in sea water. This characteristic has aroused the interest in the species, and a number of studies have been performed with the aim of elucidating the mechanisms used by quinoa in order to cope with high salt levels in the soil at various stages of plant development. In quinoa key traits seem to be anefficient control of Na+ sequestration in leaf vacuoles, xylem Na+ loading, higher ROS tolerance, better K+ retention, and an efficient control over stomatal development and aperture. The purpose of this review is to give an overview on the existing knowledge of the salt tolerance of quinoa, to discuss the potential of quinoa for cultivation in salt-affected regions and as a basis for further research in the field of plant salt tolerance.