In order to quickly and efficiently evaluate the salt tolerance of alfalfa, salinity tests were conducted on Medicago sativa L. var. australis, var. icon, var. loi, and var. gea, under in vitro conditions. Pregerminated seeds of four varieties were subjected to five different NaCl concentrations (0, 50, 100, 150, 200 mM). The influence of saline stress was estimated on the basis of survival percentage, growth parameters, and electrolyte leakage. The seedlings surviving on the medium enriched with salt at the highest concentration were presumed to be tolerant and represented the mother plants for the production of in vitro clones. In the following step, the clones were evaluated in vitro to confirm the salt tolerance. The influence of mild salt stress (75 mM NaCl) on the growth parameters of selected clones was examined. At the end of this trial, the proline accumulation and sodium content in alfalfa shoots were also quantified. The results suggest an increased level of proline promotes salt tolerance. Medicago sativa L. var. icon is highly tolerant in comparison with the other varieties tested. In vitro selection of M. sativa L. varieties on salt-containing media allowed us to obtain clones with increased salinity tolerance.
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