Land based plants have adapted to survive on fresh water from rain or rivers, and water based plants have adapted to survive on salt water. Of course, it is still possible for certain salt water plants to adapt to fresh water, but the chemicals they excrete will disrupt the fresh water ecosystem. There are some plants that live in areas where salt and fresh water collide, and they can live in water with very little salt content.
Thank you all for your responses, I’m afraid I did not phrase my question correctly. What I’m trying to find out is what is salt doing on a cellular level to the land plants. That sea plants are not affected by.
Most of the plant life in the ocean is made up of algae, like seaweed, kelp, or microscopic algae floating around. Non algae plants that can survive in the ocean often live in shallow waters. Examples of these plants include seagrass, cordgrass, or turtle grass. These plants have adapted to the high salinity of the ocean. Some of these plants are able to slowly break down salt; turning it into chlorine and sodium ions. Other plants can store salt and get rid of it along with it’s other respiratory products. Large beds of oceanic plants are able to directly regulate the salinity of the water in that area for their ideal growing conditions.
Saltwater kills land based plants because of dessication. which is a state of exteme dryness or the process of drying. so saltwater essentially drys land based plants out and they die. In fact, salt water used to be used (and is sometimes still is used) as a weed killer along with vinegar, soap and boiling water. Sand is essentially the ultimate dessicated soil and land based plants don’t do very well in sand.
Clarification based on additional information – once insdie the cell of a land based plant, salt causes ioinic stresses, largely as Na+ and Cl- inhibit metabloic porcesses including protein synthesis. Na+ can rise to toxic levels in older leaves, causing them to die. This reduces the leaf area available for photoshynthesis and so the plant cannot sustain growth or crop yield.
Some plants – such as halophtes, live in high salt conditions just fine. However, the mechanism for salt tolerance is very complex both genetically and physiologically and attempts to improve salt tolerance through traditional breeding programs has had very limited success. Halophytes seem to exclude Na from the roots and limit its transport to the leaves. Additionally some halophtes, accumulate Na+ in the shoot because they can store it away from vital cellular functions. Na+ is usually stored in the vacuole.
There has been some interesting advances and there is more information at the link provided – hopefully this helps!
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