Plant height and mineral content of Opuntia tapona growing along the coasts of Baja California Sur, México
Keywords:sodium, chloride, salinity tolerance, plant breeding, biodiversity, conservation.
Salinity remains one of the world’s oldest and most serious environmental problems affecting agricultural production. Opuntia species can support strong droughts and abrupt changes of temperature, but they are sensitive to salt concentration in the soil solution or irrigation water. The objective of the present study was to take samples of wild Opuntia plants along the coasts of Baja California Sur to measure mineral contents, and to identify possible salt–tolerant genetic materials relating those minerals associated with salt–tolerance such as sodium and chloride. Fourteen sites were located in two transects along Baja California Sur coasts to identify wild prickly pear “nopaleras”. Plant height and Ca, Mg, K, Na, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Cl, N, P and B of Opuntia tapona plants were evaluated in cladodes and roots. The results showed significant differences in plant height and minerals between sample sites and mineral between tissues. All minerals showed higher content (P<0.05) in cladodes than roots. The probably effect of marine breeze on mineral content of O. tapona is discussed in this manuscript. We concluded that is necessary to measure the marine breeze chemical and soil physical–chemical properties to determine the effect of these factors in mineral content, growth and morphological characteristics of wild prickly pear in Baja California Sur.