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Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 7;7:43461. doi: 10.1038/srep43461.

Vapour pressure deficit control in relation to water transport and water productivity in greenhouse tomato production during summer.

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College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China.


Although atmospheric vapour pressure deficit (VPD) has been widely recognized as the evaporative driving force for water transport, the potential to reduce plant water consumption and improve water productivity by regulating VPD is highly uncertain. To bridge this gap, water transport in combination with plant productivity was examined in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) plants grown under contrasting VPD gradients. The driving force for water transport was substantially reduced in low-VPD treatment, which consequently decreased water loss rate and moderated plant water stress: leaf desiccation, hydraulic limitation and excessive negative water potential were prevented by maintaining water balance. Alleviation in water stress by reducing VPD sustained stomatal function and photosynthesis, with concomitant improvements in biomass and fruit production. From physiological perspectives, suppression of the driving force and water flow rate substantially reduced cumulative transpiration by 19.9%. In accordance with physiological principles, irrigation water use efficiency as criterions of biomass and fruit yield in low-VPD treatment was significantly increased by 36.8% and 39.1%, respectively. The reduction in irrigation was counterbalanced by input of fogging water to some extent. Net water saving can be increased by enabling greater planting densities and improving the evaporative efficiency of the mechanical system.

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