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J Exp Bot. 2003 Aug;54(389):1889-97. Epub 2003 Jun 18.

Air method measurements of apple vessel length distributions with improved apparatus and theory.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Physics and Irrigation, Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, ARO Volcani Center, POB 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel. vwshep@agri.gov.il

Abstract

Studies showing that rootstock dwarfing potential is related to plant hydraulic conductance led to the hypothesis that xylem properties are also related. Vessel length distribution and other properties of apple wood from a series of varieties were measured using the 'air method' in order to test this hypothesis. Apparatus was built to measure and monitor conductivity to air of fresh wood segments of different lengths. Theory for determining vessel length distribution was improved to give a single parameter uni-modal vessel length probability density function. The function, derived by combining the exponential extinction (with extinction coefficient k) of wood conductivity to air (C) as wood length (x) increases (i.e. C=Co exp (-kx)) with the differential double difference formula, is Px=xxk2 exp (-kx), where Px is the fraction of vessels of length x. The main parameter of the distribution, k, was found to be the inverse of the mode of the distribution, i.e. the most common vessel length, Lo. Lo for ten apple rootstock and scion varieties varied from 5.6+/-0.1 cm (+/-SE) for MM.111 to 9.0+/-1.0 for Prunifolia (P <0.05). Average maximum vessel length was approximately 50 cm, and differences were not significant. Effective vessel radii ranged from 14 for Prunifolia to 24.3+/-0.7 micro m for M.26, with standard errors less than 12% of the mean. Specific conductivity of a 15 cm wood segment ranged from 2x109-4) to 1.6+/-0.2x10(-2) dm3 s(-1) kPa(-1) m(-1) for maruba and M.26, respectively, with standard errors up to 63% of the mean. Vessel density at the air entry point ranged from 18+/-3 to 42+/-6 vessels mm-2 for M.26 and MM.106, respectively, with standard errors as high as 89% of the mean. It was concluded that there is no general relationship between the wood properties investigated and rootstock size class, and that plasticity increases from vessel lengths to radii to specific conductivity and vessel densities.

PMID:
12815034
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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