Medicinal and aromatic plants production under salt stress. A review
Salinization of soils or waters is one of the world’s most serious environmental problems in agriculture. It is necessary to determine the environmental factors under which medicinal and aromatic plants give higher yields and better quality. The problem of salinity is characterized by an excess of inorganic salts and is common in the arid and semi-arid lands, where it has been naturally formed under the prevailing climatic conditions and due to higher rates of evapotranspiration and lack of leaching water. Although more frequent in arid lands, salt-affected soils are also present in areas where salinity is caused by poor quality of irrigation water. Saline soil induces physiological and metabolic disturbances in plants, affecting development, growth, yield, and quality of plants. Plants affects adversely as a result of salinity, seed germination, survival percentage, morphological characteristics, development and yield and its components. In general, salt stress decreases the photosynthesis and respiration rate of plants. Total carbohydrate, fatty acid and protein content were adversely affected due to salinity effect, but increased the level of amino acids, particularly proline. The content of some secondary plant products is significantly higher in plants grown under salt stress than in those cultivated in normal conditions. The salinity tolerance depends on the interaction between salinity and other environmental factors.