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Tree Physiol. 1994 Feb;14(2):111-28.

Element concentrations in the xylem sap of Picea abies (L.) Karst. seedlings extracted by various methods under different environmental conditions.

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  • 1Universität Bayreuth, Lehrstuhl Pflanzenökologie, Universitätsstrasse 30, 95440 Bayreuth, FRG.


We used a Scholander pressure chamber to assess the effects of various extraction methods under different environmental conditions on element concentrations in xylem sap of 3-year-old Picea abies (L.) Karst. seedlings. Sap from excised shoots contained higher element concentrations when extracted at low than at high over-pressures. When comparing plants differing in water status, we found that a high extraction over-pressure introduced a systematic error into the data. For example, in well-watered non-transpiring plants relative to unwatered transpiring plants, potassium concentrations were 70% higher in sap extracted at 0.1 MPa over-pressure, but only 10% higher in sap extracted at 1.0 MPa over-pressure. Moreover, treatment effects depended on the time of day when the sap was extracted. Increased water flux in transpiring plants relative to non-transpiring plants resulted in reduced xylem sap element concentrations when samples were collected after 9 h of transpiration, but not after 4 to 6 h of transpiration. Drought had little effect on xylem sap element concentrations, indicating that rates of element release into xylem conduits, element depletion by growing tissues, and water flow maintained a balance that may prevent nutrient stress during short-term drought.

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