Salt stress on Lotus tenuis triggers cell wall polysaccharide changes affecting their digestibility by ruminants

María Elena Vago, Gustavo Jaurena, Jose M. Estevez, Maria Agueda Castro, Jorge Alberto Zavala, Marina Ciancia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Lotus tenuis is a glycophytic forage legume (Fabaceae) used in feeding ruminants that can grow under salinity and waterlogging stresses. Plants obtained in controlled conditions were affected negatively in their growth by the effect of salt. Results from sequential extraction of plant cell wall polysaccharides and chemical characterization were related to those from nutritional parameters used to assess ruminants feedstuffs (Van Soest detergent system). Shoots and leaves were analyzed, and the most important differences were found for shoots. The salt-stressed shoots gave lower values of neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber; they produced higher amounts of reserve α-glucans, and hemicelluloses (xyloglucans and glucuronoxylans from primary and secondary cell walls, respectively) and pectins, leaving less material resistant to extraction. This effect was clearly confirmed by an in vitro gas production assay. In addition, observations by light microcopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), showed in some tissues thicker walls and more opened cell wall structures in regard to control samples, which could allow easier access of degrading enzymes in the rumen. Although the plant biomass of Lotus tenuis produced under salt stress was lower, its quality as forage improved due to production of increased quantities of more digestible polysaccharides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Cell wall
  • Forage digestibility
  • Hemicellulose
  • Lotus tenuis
  • Pectin
  • Salt stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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