BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) is a deep-rooted crop that can survive prolonged dry periods probably as a result of its capacity to uptake water from below ground, but specific information on the functioning of deep/shallow roots is missing. The objective of this study was to understand the dynamic interrelationships of root water acquisition, canopy water conservation and abscisic acid (ABA) signals from both shallow and deep roots. METHODS: In transparent split top-bottom rhizotron systems (1-m-high columns), where hydraulically isolated and independently watered layers were created with the aid of calibrated soil moisture sensors, water uptake trends were monitored. Rooting patterns were traced on the walls of the rhizotrons. Leaf gas exchange was determined using a portable infrared gas analyser. Leaf and root ABA concentrations were monitored. KEY RESULTS: Under well-watered conditions, water uptake from both upper and deeper soil layers was similar. Water uptake from deeper soil layers increased gradually by up to 2.2-fold when drought stress was imposed to upper layers compared to the control conditions. Despite the significant increase in water uptake from deeper layers, surface root length density of drought-treated plants remained unchanged, suggesting increased root water uptake efficiency by these roots. However, these adjustments were not sufficient to sustain photosynthesis and therefore biomass accumulation, which was reduced by 42 %. The ABA content in shallower drought-treated roots increased 2.6-fold. This increase closely and positively correlated with foliar ABA concentration, increased intrinsic water use efficiency and leaf water potential (LWP). CONCLUSIONS: Giant reed is able to change its water sources depending on water availability and to maximize water uptake efficiency to satisfy canopy evapotranspirative demands. The regulation of deep root functioning and distribution, adjustment of canopy size, and root/foliar synthesized ABA play a central role in controlling LWP and leaf transpiration efficiency.

Deep root growth, ABA adjustments and root water uptake response to soil water deficit in giant reed

Zegada-Lizarazu W.;Monti A.
2019

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) is a deep-rooted crop that can survive prolonged dry periods probably as a result of its capacity to uptake water from below ground, but specific information on the functioning of deep/shallow roots is missing. The objective of this study was to understand the dynamic interrelationships of root water acquisition, canopy water conservation and abscisic acid (ABA) signals from both shallow and deep roots. METHODS: In transparent split top-bottom rhizotron systems (1-m-high columns), where hydraulically isolated and independently watered layers were created with the aid of calibrated soil moisture sensors, water uptake trends were monitored. Rooting patterns were traced on the walls of the rhizotrons. Leaf gas exchange was determined using a portable infrared gas analyser. Leaf and root ABA concentrations were monitored. KEY RESULTS: Under well-watered conditions, water uptake from both upper and deeper soil layers was similar. Water uptake from deeper soil layers increased gradually by up to 2.2-fold when drought stress was imposed to upper layers compared to the control conditions. Despite the significant increase in water uptake from deeper layers, surface root length density of drought-treated plants remained unchanged, suggesting increased root water uptake efficiency by these roots. However, these adjustments were not sufficient to sustain photosynthesis and therefore biomass accumulation, which was reduced by 42 %. The ABA content in shallower drought-treated roots increased 2.6-fold. This increase closely and positively correlated with foliar ABA concentration, increased intrinsic water use efficiency and leaf water potential (LWP). CONCLUSIONS: Giant reed is able to change its water sources depending on water availability and to maximize water uptake efficiency to satisfy canopy evapotranspirative demands. The regulation of deep root functioning and distribution, adjustment of canopy size, and root/foliar synthesized ABA play a central role in controlling LWP and leaf transpiration efficiency.
Zegada-Lizarazu W.; Monti A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/717596
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