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Water use efficiency, transpiration and net CO2 exchange of four alfalfa genotypes submitted to progressive drought and subsequent recovery.
Authors: Erice, G. (Gorka)
Louahlia, S. (Saïd)
Irigoyen, J.J. (Juan José)
Sanchez-Diaz, M. (Manuel)
Alami, I.T. (I. Thami)
Avice, J.C. (Jean-Christophe)
Keywords: Alfalfa
Net CO2exchange
Water use efficiency
Carbon isotope discrimination
Issue Date: Jul-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Publisher version:
ISSN: 0098-8472
Citation: Erice G, Louahlia S, Irigoyen JJ, Sánchez-Díaz M, Alami IT, Avice J. Water use efficiency, transpiration and net CO2 exchange of four alfalfa genotypes submitted to progressive drought and subsequent recovery. Environ Exp Bot 2011 Sep;72(2):123-130.
The predicted worldwide increase in arid areas and water stress episodes will strongly affect crop production. Plants have developed a wide diversity of physiological mechanisms for drought tolerance. A decline in photosynthesis and thus yield production is a common response to drought, as are increases in the water use efficiency of photosynthesis (WUEph) and productivity (WUEp). The aim of our study was to determine the physiological effects (especially WUEph and WUEp) of progressivedrought and subsequent recovery in three cultivars adapted to a Mediterranean climate [Tafilalet (TA), Tierra de Campos (TC), and Moapa (MO)], and another representative from an oceanic climate (Europe (EU)). The accuracy of the relationships between WUEph or WUEp and carbon isotope discrimination (Δ 13C) in shoots was also investigated as a function of water stress intensity. Mild drought (7 days of water withholding) decreased the net CO2exchange (A), leaf conductance to water (g) and transpiration in EU leading to an increased WUEph. Δ 13C was correlated with WUEp but not with WUEph, probably due to a late decrease in g. After moderate drought (14 days), A and g decreased in all cultivars, increasing WUEph. In this period WUEp also increased. Both WUE parameters were correlated with Δ 13C, which may indicate that the g value at the end of moderate water stress was representative of the growing period. After 21 days, TA was the most productive cultivar but under severe drought conditions there was no difference in DM accumulation among cultivars. After the recovery period, leaf area was increased but not total DM, showing that leaves were the most responsive organs to rewatering. Severe water stress did not decrease WUEph or WUEp, and Δ 13C did not increase after recovery. This absence of a response to severe drought may indicate significant effects on the photosynthetic apparatus after 21 days of withholding water. As for mild drought, WUEp but not WUEph was correlated with Δ 13C, supporting the view that WUEp is a more integrative parameter than WUEph.
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