Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Phenotyping oilseed rape growth-related traits and their responses to water deficit: the disturbing pot size effect

Anaëlle Dambreville A , Mélanie Griolet A , Gaëlle Rolland A , Myriam Dauzat A , Alexis Bédiée A , Crispulo Balsera A , Bertrand Muller A , Denis Vile A and Christine Granier A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, UMR759 Laboratoire d’Ecophysiologie des Plantes sous Stress Environnementaux (LEPSE), 2 place Pierre Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 2, France.

B Corresponding author. Email: granier@supagro.inra.fr

Functional Plant Biology 44(1) 35-45 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP16036
Submitted: 27 January 2016  Accepted: 20 May 2016   Published: 4 July 2016

Abstract

Following the recent development of high-throughput phenotyping platforms for plant research, the number of individual plants grown together in a same experiment has raised, sometimes at the expense of pot size. However, root restriction in excessively small pots affects plant growth and carbon partitioning, and may interact with other stresses targeted in these experiments. In work reported here, we investigated the interactive effects of pot size and soil water deficit on multiple growth-related traits from the cellular to the whole-plant scale in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.). The effects of pot size on responses to water deficit and allometric relationships revealed strong, multilevel interactions between pot size and watering regime. Notably, water deficit increased the root : shoot ratio in large pots, but not in small pots. At the cellular scale, water deficit decreased epidermal leaf cell area in large pots, but not in small pots. These results were consistent with changes in the level of endoreduplication factor in leaf cells. Our study illustrates the disturbing interaction of pot size with water deficit and raises the need to carefully consider this factor in the frame of the current development of high-throughput phenotyping experiments.

Additional keywords: allometry, drought stress, phenotyping platform, plant growth, pot size, stress interactions.


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