Faculty Mentor

Ava Howard




Effects of Salinity Stress from Deicing Salts on Brandywine Tomato Plants

Stephani Symanowicz

Tomatoes, Solanum lycopersicum, are glycophytic and lack adaptations to easily combat salinity stress. Under salinity stress internally the metabolism is impacted by biomolecule destabilization and protein conformational changes. Externally it causes physiological drought due to water being energetically unavailable, which leads to structural changes and decreased transpiration. Due to climate change increasing severe weather patterns and the possibility of deicing salts

being used by counties as road management solutions, we wanted to investigate how deicing

salts impact a crop plant. We studied growth, metabolic processes, and anatomy of six tomato plants under salinity stress using deicing salts and six tomato plants under normal conditions over six weeks. Salinity negatively impacted all growth measures (biomass, stem height and diameter) and leaf gas exchange rates (conductance, transpiration). Single leaf photosynthesis rate was not impacted, and salinity plants had greater specific leaf area (SLA) and a much darker green coloration. The higher SLA and coloration may be an adaptive stress response that minimizes whole plant loss of sugar production. These results could impact how farmers of the Willamette Valley advocate to county officials about road management solutions to snow and ice.






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