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Physiol Plant. 2008 Apr;132(4):446-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2007.01028.x.

Low leaf hydraulic conductance associated with drought tolerance in soybean.

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  • 1Agronomy Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0950, USA. trsincl@ifas.ufl.edu


Lack of water is the most serious environmental constraint on agricultural production. More efficient use of water resources is a key solution for increased plant productivity in water-deficit environments. We examined the hydraulic characteristics of a 'slow wilting' phenotype in soybean (Glycine max Merr.), PI 416937, which has been shown to have relatively constant transpiration rates above a threshold atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD). The VPD response of PI 416937 was confirmed. Three experiments are reported to examine the hypothesis that the VPD response was a result of low hydraulic conductance in leaves as compared to two other soybean genotypes. Results are reported from experiments to measure transpiration response to VPD when xylem water potential was maintained at zero, leaf rehydration response and leaf carbon assimilation response to petiole cutting. Major interspecific differences in leaf hydraulic properties were observed. The observed low leaf hydraulic conductance in PI 416937 is consistent with an increased water use efficiency, and an increased water conservation by limiting transpiration rates under high evaporative conditions but allowing normal gas exchange rates under more moderate evaporative conditions.

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