Investigating the Effect of Environmental Stresses on the Growth and Development of Giant Reed (Arundo donax) under the Climatic Conditions of Mashhad City

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Agrotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Drought stress is one of the main environmental factors affecting the growth and productivity of plants around the world. Periods of severe drought are predicted to increase significantly in the near future, particularly as a result of extreme heat waves. Salinity is also one of the most important challenges facing the food supply for the world's population in the future, and the degree and time of exposure to stress can make this challenge stronger or weaker.
Environmental limitations affecting plant growth, development and performance of physiological processes during plant response to stress provide important information about the plant mechanism, which is useful for eliminating or reducing the harmful effects of stress in plant tissues. The negative effects of climate change (such as drought, sea level rise, and global warming), as well as the salinization of agricultural land, and have been cited as one of the most important problems of the World Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Understanding the relationship between changes in environmental conditions and climate change and Arundo donax with regard to the growth of coastal native species and also understanding the water wastage by this plant compared to coastal native plants is vital to remove this plant in the current situation where there is drought in most areas.
In this situation, it is necessary to know how different environmental factors such as salinity levels, dryness, temperature, nutrients, light and fire affect the growth and invasion of Arundo donax for long-term and large-scale control. The purpose of this research is to obtain valuable information about the growth and development of existing ecotypes of the Arundo donax plant in Iran and the effect of various environmental factors on the germination, growth and fertility of this plant in order to plan for the long-term restoration of river ecosystems and how to control and The fight or its optimal use should be determined.
Materials and Methods
In order to investigate the effect of drought and salinity treatment on the growth and establishment of the rhizome of Arundo donax, an experiment was conducted in 2021 using rhizomes collected from the ecotype of Gorgan city and factorially in the form of a randomized complete block design in 3 replications in the research farm of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. The experimental treatments included different levels of drought stress {100%, 75% and 50% of crop capacity} and different levels of salinity stress {0 (distilled water), 4, 8 and 12 dS/m}.
Results and Discussion
The general results of the experiment showed that the presence of salinity and drought stresses both decrease the growth and development indicators of this plant, and the presence of these two environmental stresses can increase the indicators of biomass of aerial organs, biomass of underground organs, plant height, and stem diameter. The effect of salinity stress on the reduction of the measured indices was less than that of drought stress, so that the difference between the levels of salinity stress at different levels of drought stress in all the measured indices, except the shoot biomass, had insignificant differences with each other, but in the comparison of the effect of drought stress at different levels of the surface together we come to the conclusion that drought stress alone leads to a significant decrease in growth indicators compared to the control treatment. The maximum amount of shoot biomass in non-stress conditions (control) was 2840 (gr), and with the increase of salinity and drought stress levels, this value decreases, so that the lowest amount of biomass in drought stress and maximum salinity conditions was 988 (gr). The biomass of the shoots of Arundo donax increased over time in different levels of salinity and drought stress, and its value was from less than 300 grams at the beginning of the growing season in all stress levels to more than 1000 to 2500 (gr) at the end of the growing season in different stress levels.
The parameters obtained from the effect of salinity and drought stress on the stem diameter, plant height and leaf surface of Arundo donax showed that this plant showed some resistance under minor drought stress and these indicators decrease less in it, but in severe drought stress this amount decreased sharply. The results of analysis of variance of this experiment also showed that salinity and drought treatment and their interaction led to a significant difference with the control treatment. The simple effect of salinity treatment showed a significant difference in other indices compared to the control treatment, except for the index of leaf area and stem diameter, however, the simple effect of drought treatment showed significance in all the measured indices.


Main Subjects

  1. Abichandani, S.L. (2007). The potential impact of the invasive species Arundo donax on water resources along the Santa Clara River: seasonal and diurnal transpiration. University of California, Los Angeles. pp 44.
  2. Angelini, L.G., Ceccarini, L., Nassi, O., Di Nasso, N., & Bonari, E. (2009). Comparison of Arundo donax and Miscanthus x giganteus in a long-term field experiment in Central Italy: analysis of productive characteristics and energy balance. Biomass and Bioenergy, 33, 635–643.
  3. Baker, H. (1974). The evolution of weeds. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 5, 24.
  4. Bell, G.P. (1997). Ecology and management of Arundo donax, and approaches to riparian habitat estoration in southern California. In: Plant Invasions: Studies from North America and Europe (eds Brock JH, Wade M, Pysek P, Green D), pp. 103–113.
  5. Beringer, T., Lucht, W., & Schaphoff, S. (2011). Bioenergy production potential of global biomass plantations under environmental and agricultural constraints. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 3, 299–312.
  6. Centritto, M., Loreto, F., & Chartzoulakis, K. (2003). The use of low [CO2] to estimate diffusional and non-diffusional limitations of photosynthetic capacity of salt-stressed olive saplings. Plant, Cell & Environment, 26, 585–594.
  7. Chaves, M.M., Costa, J.M., & Saibo, N.J.M. (2011). Recent advances in photosynthesis under drought and salinity. Advances in Botanical Research, 57, 49–104.
  8. Chaves, M.M., Flexas, J., & Pinheiro, C. (2009). Photosynthesis under drought and salt stress: regulation mechanisms from whole plant to cell. Annual Botanical, 103, 551–560.
  9. Cornic, G. (2000). Drought stress inhibits photosynthesis by decreasing stomatal aperture – not by affecting. Trends in Plant Science, 5, 187–188.
  10. Cosentino, S.L., Patanè, C., Sanzone, E., Testa, G., & Scordia, D. (2016). Leaf gas exchange, water status and radiation use efficiency of giant reed (Arundo donax) in a changing soil nitrogen fertilization and soil water availability in a semi-arid Mediterranean area. European Journal of Agronomy, 72, 56–69.
  11. Curt, M.D., Sanz, M., & Mauri, P.V. (2018). Effect of water regime change in a mature Arundo donax crop under a xeric Mediterranean climate. Biomass and Bioenergy, 115, 203–209.
  12. Czech, B., & Krausman, P. (1997). Distribution and causation of species endangerment in the United State. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 4, 439–444.
  13. Danin, A. (2004). Arundo (Gramineae) in the Mediterranean reconsidered. Willdenowia, 34, 361–369.
  14. Decruyenaere, J.G., & Holt, J.S. (2005). Ramet demography of a clonal invader, Arundo donax (Poaceae), in Southern California. Plant and Soil, 277, 41–52.
  15. Flexas, J., Bota, J., Loreto, F., Cornic, G., & Sharkey, T.D. (2004). Diffusive and metabolic limitations to photosynthesis under drought and salinity in C3 plants. Plant Biology, 6, 269–279.
  16. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2013). FAOSTAT. Agri-Environmental Indicators. Available at (accessed 05 March 2014).
  17. Gasith, A., & Resh, V.H. (1999). Streams in Mediterranean climate regions: abiotic influences and biotic responses to predictable seasonal events. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 30, 51-81.
  18. Gordon, D.R., Tancig, K.J., Onderdonk, D.A., & Gantz, C.A. (2011). Assessing the invasive potential of biofuel species proposed for Florida and the United States using the Australian Weed Risk Assessment. Biomass and Bioenergy, 35, 74–79.
  19. Grzesiak, M.T., Waligórski, P., Janowiak, F., Marcińska, I., Hura, K., Szczyrek, P., & Głąb, T. (2013). The relations between drought susceptibility index based on grain yield (DSIGY) and key physiological seedling traits in maize and triticale genotypes. Acta Physiol Plant, 35, 549–565.
  20. Haworth, M., Cosentino, S.L., Marino, G. (2017). Physiological responses of Arundo donax ecotypes to drought: a common garden study. GCB Bioenergy, 9, 132–143.
  21. Hernández, I., Alegre, L., & Munné-Bosch, S. (2012). Drought-induced changes in flavonoids and other low molecular weight antioxidants in Cistus clusii grown under Mediterranean field conditions. Tree Physiology, 24, 1303–1311.
  22. Jørgensen, U. (2011). Benefits versus risks of growing biofuel crops: the case of Miscanthus. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 3, 24–30.
  23. Juneau, K.J., & Tarasoff, C.S. (2013). The seasonality of survival and subsequent growth of common reed (Phragmites australis) rhizome fragments. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 6, 79-86.
  24. Lambert, A.M., Dudley, T.L., & Saltonstall, K. (2010). Ecology and impacts of the large-statured invasive grasses Arundo donax and Phragmites australis in North America. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 3, 489–494.
  25. Lauteri, M., Haworth, M., Serraj, R., Monteverdi, M.C., & Centritto, M. (2014). Photosynthetic diffusional constraints affect yield in drought stressed rice cultivars during flowering. PLoS One, 9, e109054.
  26. Lawlor, D.W., & Cornic, G. (2002). Photosynthetic carbon assimilation and associated metabolism in relation to water deficits in higher plants. Plant, Cell & Environment, 25, 275–294.
  27. Long, S.P., & Bernacchi, C.J. (2003). Gas exchange measurements, what can they tell us about the underlying limitations to photosynthesis? Procedures and sources of error. Journal of Experimental Botany 54, 2393–2401.
  28. Loreto, F., & Fineschi, S. (2015). Reconciling functions and evolution of isoprene emission in higher plants. The New Phytologist, 206, 578–582.
  29. Mann, J., Barnet, J., Guy, B., & Joseph, M. (2013). Miscanthus 3 giganteus and Arundo donax shoot and rhizome tolerance of extreme moisture stress. Global Change Biology, 5, 693-700.
  30. Mantineo, M., D’Agosta, G.M., Copani, V., Patanè, C., & Cosentino, S.L. (2009). Biomass yield and energy balance of three perennial crops for energy use in the semi-arid Mediterranean environment. Field Crops Research, 114, 204–213.
  31. Mariani, C., Cabrini, R., Danin, A. (2010). Origin, diffusion and reproduction of the giant reed (Arundo donax): a promising weedy energy crop. Annals of Applied Biology, 157, 191–202.
  32. Munns, R. (2002). Comparative physiology of salt and water stress. Plant, Cell & Environment 25, 239–250.
  33. Pilu, R., Cassani, E., & Landoni, M. (2014). Genetic characterization of an Italian giant reed (Arundo donax) clones collection: exploiting clonal selection. Euphytica, 196, 169–181.
  34. Signarbieux, C., & Feller, U. (2011). Non-stomatal limitations of photosynthesis in grassland species under artificial drought in the field. Environment and Experimental Botany, 71, 192–197.
  35. Silva, E.N., Ferreira-Silva, S.L., Fontenele, A.V., Ribeiro, R.V., Viégas, R.A., & Silveira, J.A. (2010). Photosynthetic changes and protective mechanisms against oxidative damage subjected to isolated and combined drought and heat stresses in Jatropha curcas plants. Journal of Plant Physiology, 167, 1157–1164.
  36. Steinmaus, S., & Norris, R.F. (2002). Growth analysis and canopy architecture of velvetleaf grown under light conditions representative of irrigated Mediterranean-type agroecosystems. Weed Science, 50, 42-53.[0042:GAACAO]2.0.CO;2
  37. Trnka, M., Olesen, J.E., & Kersebaum, K.C. (2011). Agroclimatic conditions in Europe under climate change. Global Change Biology, 17, 2298–2318.
  38. Valli, F., Trebbi, D., Zegada-Lizarazu, W., Monti, A., Tuberosa, R., & Salvi, S. (2017). In vitro physical mutagenesis of giant reed (Arundo donax). GCB Bioenergy, 9, 1380–1389.
  39. Watts, D.A., & Moore, G.W. (2011). Water-use dynamics of an invasive reed, Arundo donax, from leaf to stand. Wetlands, 31, 725–734.
  40. Wilhelm, C. (2014) Salt stress resistance – multisite regulation in focus. Journal Plant Physiology, 171, 1.
  41. Zub, H.W., & Brancourt-Hulmel, M. (2010). Agronomic and physiological performances of different species of Miscanthus, a major energy crop. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 30, 201–214.
  42. Zúñiga, E., Argandoña, V.H., Niemeyer, H.M., & Corcuera, L.J. (1983). Hydroxamic acid content in wild and cultivated gramineae. Phytochemistry, 22(12), 2665-2668.