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Effects of foliar application of gibberellic acid on the salt tolerance of tomato and sweet pepper transplants


Seed germination and early seedling growth are the plant growth stages most sensitive to salt stress. Thus, the availability of poor-quality brackish water can be a big limiting factor for the nursery vegetable industry. The exogenous supplementation of gibberellic acid (GA3) may promote growth and vigor and counterbalance salt stress in mature plants. This study aimed to test exogenous supplementation through foliar spray of 10−5 M GA3 for increasing salt tolerance of tomato and sweet pepper seedlings irrigated with increasing salinity (0, 25, and 50 mM NaCl during nursery growth. Tomato and sweet pepper seedlings suffered negative effects of salinity on plant height, biomass, shoot/root ratio, leaf number, leaf area, relative water content, and stomatal conductance. The foliar application of GA3 had a growth-promoting effect on the unstressed tomato and pepper seedlings and was successful in increasing salinity tolerance of tomato seedlings up to 25 mM NaCl and up to 50 mM NaCl in sweet pepper seedlings. This treatment could represent a sustainable strategy to use saline water in vegetable nurseries limiting its negative effect on seedling quality and production time.