• Hordeum vulgare cv. Stirling;
  • plant nutrient concentrations;
  • salt stress;
  • stagnant solution culture;
  • waterlogging


The resistance of most plants to salt can be impaired by concurrent waterlogging. However, few studies have examined this interaction during germination and early seedling growth and its implications for nutrient uptake. The aim of the study was to examine the response of germination, early growth, and nutrient uptake to salt (NaCl) and hypoxia applied to barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Stirling), in solution culture. Hypoxia, induced by covering seeds with water, lowered the germination from 94% to 28% but salinity and hypoxia together lowered it further to 13% at 120 mM NaCl. While the germination was 75% at 250 mM NaCl in aerated solution, it was completely inhibited at this NaCl concentration under hypoxia. Sodium ion (Na+) concentrations in germinated seedlings increased with increasing salinity under both aerated and hypoxic conditions during germination, while K+ and Mg+ concentrations were decreased with increasing salinity in 6 d old seedlings. After 20 d, control seedlings had the same dry weights of the roots and shoots with and without hypoxia but at 10 mM NaCl and higher, shoot and root dry weight was depressed with hypoxia. Sodium ion increased in roots and shoots with increased NaCl under both aerated and hypoxic conditions while K+ was depressed when salinity and hypoxia were applied together and Ca2+ was mostly decreased by NaCl. In general, hypoxia had greater effects on nutrient concentrations than NaCl by decreasing N, P, S, Mg, Mn, Zn, and Fe in shoots and by increasing B concentrations. The threshold salinity levels decreased markedly for germination, uptake of a range of nutrients, and for seedling growth of barley under hypoxic compared to well-aerated conditions.