Drought and Pot Size Effects on Transpiration Efficiency and Carbon Isotope Discrimination of Cowpea Accessions and Hybrids
AM Ismail, AE Hall and EA Bray
Australian Journal of Plant Physiology
21(1) 23 - 35
Carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) has been proposed as a selection criterion for improving adaptation to water-limited environments because it provides a measure of seasonal transpiration efficiency ( WUE). In cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.), consistent genotypic and drought-induced differences in Δ and WUE have been observed which were correlated as expected based on theory. Values of Δ and WUE for reciprocal hybrids grown under field conditions indicated nuclear inheritance for both characters. High WUE and low Δ were partially dominant under dry field pot conditions, whereas high Δ was partially dominant under natural wet soil conditions. Studies were conducted to test whether differences in rooting environment and xylem ABA levels are responsible for this change in dominance relations. Cowpea accessions and hybrids were grown in the field and subjected to wet or dry treatments with three different pot sizes. The experiment was conducted twice, giving similar results. The dry treatment resulted in decreases in Δ, and increases in WUE and ABA concentration in the xylem sap. Under drought, genotypes with higher WUE had higher xylem ABA, and the hybrids exhibited greater increases in ABA concentration in response to the dry treatment than either parent. Partial confounding was present in that the hybrids had substantial leaf area and water-use rate, and may have experienced greater soil drought in some conditions than some parents, with interacting effects of pot size. Plants in larger pots produced more biomass and leaf area but with no changes in xylem ABA. Concentration of ABA in the xylem sap was correlated with Δ and WUE for genotypic and drought treatment effects but not for pot size effects. Hybrids tended to have higher Δ and lower WUE in relation to mid-parent means when grown in large wet pots than in small dry ones. Changes in hybrid performance with respect to Δ and WUE were more consistent with changes in xylem ABA for drought treatment effects than for pot size effects. Another chemical signal might be involved in mediating pot size effects.
Full text doi:10.1071/PP9940023
© CSIRO 1994