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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 5(5)

Osmotic Adjustment of Sorghum and Sunflower Crops in Response to Water Deficits and Its Influence on the Water Potential at Which Stomata Close

NC Turner, JE Begg and ML Tonnet

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 5(5) 597 - 608
Published: 1978


The soil and plant water status of irrigated and unirrigated sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench cv. TX610] and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L. cv. Hysun 30) crops were compared on several days from the late vegetative to the early grain-filling stages of development. Additionally, the stems of plants from the irrigated and unirrigated plots of both species were cut near their base; this caused the plants to quickly dry until the stomata closed. The leaf water potential and leaf osmotic potential were measured when the stomatal resistance reached 6 s cm-ยน to give the water potential for stomatal closure and to provide osmotic potentials at equal turgor. Carbohydrate and potassium levels of leaves were also monitored.

The mean daily minimum leaf water potentials in the irrigated sorghum and sunflower did not decrease below - 1 7 MPa and - 2.0 MPa, respectively, but decreased to - 2.1 MPa in the unirrigated sorghum and -2.6 MPa in the unirrigated sunflower. The osmotic potential at stomatal closure in the rapidly dried plants decreased with increasing leaf water deficit in both sunflower and sorghum: in both species the osmotic potential decreased approximately 0.6 MPa for each megapascal decrease in leaf water potential. The results indicate that both sorghum and sunflower adjusted osmotically in response to water deficits and that adjustment occurred at a rate of at least 0.1 MPa per day. The lowering of osmotic potential persisted less than 9 days after the relief of stress in both sunflower and sorghum. The soluble sugar concentration increased linearly in both sunflower and sorghum with osmotic adjustment: the rate of increase of soluble sugars was significantly greater in sunflower than sorghum. No changes in potassium concentration were observed during osmotic adjustment.

The water potential at which the stomata closed varied from - 1.5 to -2.6 MPa in sorghum and - 1.7 to -2.7 MPa in sunflower: the water potential that induced stomatal closure decreased as the osmotic potential decreased. Stomatal closure occurred at a mean turgor of -0-5 MPa in both species: systematic error in the measurement of osmotic potential on frozen and thawed leaf tissue is considered the reason for the low turgor potentials at stomatal closure. The adaxial stomatal closed before the abaxial stomata in the sorghum and unirrigated sunflower but, since the leaf water potential initially fell rapidly and then became stable before the adaxial stomata closed, both the adaxial and abaxial stomata closed at the same leaf water potential.

Full text doi:10.1071/PP9780597

© CSIRO 1978

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