Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan
Habib-ur-Rehman Athar has completed his PhD at the age of 34 years from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Pakistan and postdoctoral studies from University of Manchester, UK. He is Assistant Professor of Botany at Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan Pakistan. He is working on uncovering mechanism of salt tolerance. He is also working on inducing salt tolerance in important crops using plant extracts, hormones, osmoprotectantas and antioxidants through seed priming and foliar sprays. He has published more than 40 papers in reputed journals.
Salinity is one of major constraints for agricultural production world-wide. To acclimatize salt stress, plants generally accumulate various organic compatible solutes such as proline, glycinebetaine, trehalose or up-regulate antioxidant system. Furthermore, it has been found that salt tolerant cultivars accumulate more these osmoprotectants more than those in salt sensitive cultivars. Likewise, salt tolerant cultivars have more efficient antioxidant system compared with that of salt sensitive cultivars. Thus, it is suggested to breed or genetically engineer crops for salt tolerance using these osmoprotectants or antioxidants. However, breeding for salt tolerance is a long way to improve crop salt tolerance. Secondly, the low efficiency of this approach is due principally to the difficulty of recovering elite genotypes with salt tolerance traits. Alternatively, exogenous application of these osmoprotectants and antioxidants as a foliar spray or through seed soaking is one of the possible suggested means to induce salt tolerance. Comparative effect of exogenous applications of osmoprotectants and antioxidants in inducing salt tolerance has been discussed. Since among compatible solutes, glycinebetaine is studied extensively on its role in maintenance of osmotic potential and photosynthetic capacity, how glycinebetaine affects photosynthesis that results in improved salt tolerance is also discussed. In view of the reports available in the literature, major limitations to use it on large scale are also thrash out for future implications.