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J Exp Bot. 2009;60(8):2361-77. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp069. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

Photosynthesis limitations during water stress acclimation and recovery in the drought-adapted Vitis hybrid Richter-110 (V. berlandierixV. rupestris).

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Departament de Biologia, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain.


The hybrid Richter-110 (Vitis berlandierixVitis rupestris) has the reputation of being a genotype strongly adapted to drought. A study was performed with plants of R-110 subjected to sustained water-withholding to induce acclimation to two different levels of water stress, followed by rewatering to induce recovery. The goal was to analyse how photosynthesis is regulated during acclimation to water stress and recovery. In particular, the regulation of stomatal conductance (g(s)), mesophyll conductance to CO(2) (g(m)), leaf photochemistry (chlorophyll fluorescence and thermoluminescence), and biochemistry (V(c,max)) were assessed. During water stress, g(s) declined to 0.1 and less than 0.05 mol CO(2) m(-2) s(-1) in moderately and severely water-stressed plants, respectively, and was kept quite constant during an acclimation period of 1-week. Leaf photochemistry proved to be very resistant to the applied water-stress conditions. By contrast, g(m) and V(c,max) were affected by water stress, but they were not kept constant during the acclimation period. g(m) was initially unaffected by water stress, and V(c,max) even increased above control values. However, after several days of acclimation to water stress, both parameters declined below (g(m)) or at (V(c,max)) control values. For the latter two parameters there seemed to be an interaction between water stress and cumulative irradiance, since both recovered to control values after several cloudy days despite water stress. A photosynthesis limitation analysis revealed that diffusional limitations and not biochemical limitations accounted for the observed decline in photosynthesis during water stress and slow recovery after rewatering, both in moderately and severely stressed plants. However, the relative contribution of stomatal (SL) and mesophyll conductance (MCL) limitations changes during acclimation to water stress, from predominant SL early during water stress to similar SL and MCL after acclimation. Finally, photosynthesis recovery after rewatering was mostly limited by SL, since stomatal closure recovered much more slowly than g(m).

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