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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Functional Plant Biology publishes new and significant information on the functional biology of plants at all scales from the molecular through whole plant to community. More

Editor-in-Chief: Sergey Shabala


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Published online 02 September 2015
Physiological characterisation and fine mapping of a salt-tolerant mutant in rice (Oryza sativa) 
Ping Deng, Dan Jiang, Yanmin Dong, Xingyu Shi, Wen Jing and Wenhua Zhang

Salt-tolerant mutants are valuable resources for basic and applied research on plant salt tolerance. In the present study, we characterised a salt-tolerant rice mutant that had a higher survival rate under salt stress and found that its increased tolerance to salt stress was controlled by a single gene located on Chromosome 6. This result will be useful for molecular breeding to improve the salt tolerance of rice.

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Published online 28 August 2015
Lipoxygenase 2 functions in exogenous nitric oxide-induced stomatal closure in Arabidopsis thaliana 
Yanfeng Sun, Dong Lv, Wei Wang, Wei Xu, Li Wang, Chen Miao and Hong-Hui Lin

The stomata controls water and gaseous exchange and even the response to bacterial invasion. Its aperture is finely regulated by plants. However, its regulation mechanism still needs to be explored. The possible role of oxylipin in NO signalling in guard cells was studied and the existence of LOX-NO crosstalk in A. thaliana guard cells was indicated.

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Published online 24 August 2015
Cellular pathways of source leaf phloem loading and phloem unloading in developing stems of Sorghum bicolor in relation to stem sucrose storage 
Ricky J. Milne, Christina E. Offler, John W. Patrick and Christopher P. L. Grof

Sugar accumulation in Sorghum bicolor stems is an important biofuel resource. We demonstrate that phloem loading is apoplasmic and phloem unloading in developing stems shifts from an apoplasmic to a symplasmic route, coinciding with the onset of sucrose accumulation. This knowledge will inform future studies targeting increases in sugar storage.

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Published online 24 August 2015
Simultaneous recording of diurnal changes in leaf turgor pressure and stem water status of bread wheat reveal variation in hydraulic mechanisms in response to drought 
Helen Bramley, Rebecca Bitter, Gertraud Zimmermann and Ulrich Zimmermann

Information about water relations within crop canopies is needed to improve our understanding of canopy resource distribution and crop productivity. This study involved continuously (and non-destructively) monitoring water status of different organs of wheat plants, and showed that flag leaves have superior turgor maintenance over penultimate leaves under drought, whereas turgor oscillated during post-drought recovery in leaves and stems. These traits are expected to be beneficial for grain filling and maintaining yield.

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Published online 19 August 2015
Re-analysis of plant CO2 responses during the exponential growth phase: interactions with light, temperature, nutrients and water availability 
Miko U. F. Kirschbaum and Suzanne M. Lambie

The CO2 response of plant growth remains one of the most uncertain aspects of plant performance under climate change despite many years of research. This is partly caused by an incomplete and confounded analysis of past experimental observations, which we aimed to rectify by reanalysing published research results to derive an unconfounded assessment of growth responses. This provided new insights into plant CO2 responses that partly confirmed theoretical expectations, but conflicted with others, such as not showing the theoretically expected temperature × CO2 interaction.

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   | Supplementary Material (270 KB)  |        Open Access Article
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Published online 07 August 2015
Genetic diversity for root plasticity and nitrogen uptake in wheat seedlings 
Vanessa J. Melino, Gabriele Fiene, Akiko Enju, Jinhai Cai, Peter Buchner and Sigrid Heuer

Enhancing nitrogen (N) use efficiency of crops is a global research priority aimed at reducing costs of production and environmental pollution. In this study, diverse wheat genotypes were analysed for root N responses, N flux capacity and expression of N transporter genes. All wheat genotypes responded to low N with enhanced root growth, but differed in their ability to accumulate N. Identifying plant responses to N will assist breeders with developing wheat cultivars that can cope with changing soil nutrient availability.

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Published online 07 August 2015
Response of leaf water status, stomatal characteristics, photosynthesis and yield in black gram and green gram genotypes to soil water deficit 
Bhaswatee Baroowa, Nirmali Gogoi, Sreyashi Paul and Kushal Kumar Baruah

Stomatal behaviour plays an important role in plants’ response to environmental stress. This study documents the differences in drought tolerance at leaf and stomatal level of two drought susceptible pulses – black gram and green gram. Genotypic variability has been observed in both the pulses and between the two crops, green gram was found to be affected to a greater extent than black gram. Findings of this study will be useful for future breeding programs aimed to improve drought resistance in black gram and green gram.

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Published online 03 August 2015
Genetic approaches to enhancing nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) in cereals: challenges and future directions 
Trevor Garnett, Darren Plett, Sigrid Heuer and Mamoru Okamoto

Australian farmers apply large amounts of nitrogen fertiliser to cereal crops to achieve high yields and maintain grain quality. The use of this applied nitrogen fertiliser by cereals is poor, and leads to economic losses and environmental problems. This review details the problem in an Australian context and details genetic approaches to improve the use of nitrogen fertiliser by cereal plants.

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blank image Functional Plant Biology
Volume 42 Number 9 2015

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Descriptive Table of Contents 
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What drives fruit growth? 
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Robert C. O. Okello , Ep Heuvelink , Pieter H. B. de Visser , Paul C. Struik and Leo F. M. Marcelis
pp. 817-827

Although plant growth through aggregation of number and size of tissues and organs seems straightforward, the cellular basis of fruit growth is still unresolved. We argue that (1) the positive correlation between cell number and fruit size does not imply a causal relationship, and (2) fruit growth is regulated by a global protein through cell autonomous and noncell autonomous mechanisms. We propose that fruit size can be manipulated via genes regulating cell division or cell expansion.


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A thermodynamic analysis of the feasibility of water secretion into xylem vessels against a water potential gradient 
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Lars H. Wegner
pp. 828-835

The energetic aspects of water secretion into root xylem vessels by cotransport with salts were analysed by assuming water transport to be ‘energetically uphill’ and associated with a free energy gain of water. This paper shows that despite considerable energy costs, root respiration and H+-ATPase activity could drive secondary active water transport. This may contribute to the generation of root pressure, embolism repair and water ascent in trees.


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Rising temperature may negate the stimulatory effect of rising CO2 on growth and physiology of Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) 
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James D. Lewis , Nathan G. Phillips , Barry A. Logan , Renee A. Smith , Iker Aranjuelo , Steve Clarke , Catherine A. Offord , Allison Frith , Margaret Barbour , Travis Huxman and David T. Tissue
pp. 836-850

Wollemi pine, formerly widespread in Australia, has been reduced by past climate change to a remnant population and this rare species may be pushed to extinction by future climate change. We examined the impact of rising [CO2] and temperature on clonally propagated seedlings, and observed positive impacts on growth and physiology in elevated [CO2] that were generally negated by elevated temperature. The remnant wild population of Wollemi pine is susceptible to warming, which may be the most significant environmental factor determining success in a future climate.


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Optimum temperature for floral terpene emissions tracks the mean temperature of the flowering season 
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Gerard Farré-Armengol , Iolanda Filella , Joan Llusià , Ülo Niinemets and Josep Peñuelas
pp. 851-857

Flower scent plays a crucial role in pollinator attraction and is affected by environmental conditions such as temperature. We tested whether optimum temperatures for floral emissions are adapted to the temperature range during the flowering period and found that species flowering in cold seasons have lower optimum temperatures than those flowering in warm seasons. The results suggest that the flower physiology of different species is adapted to optimise emissions during their flowering period.

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High resolution imaging of maize (Zea mays) leaf temperature in the field: the key role of the regions of interest 
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Taha Jerbi , Nathalie Wuyts , Maria Angela Cane , Philippe-François Faux and Xavier Draye
pp. 858-864

Remote sensing technologies have the potential to help scientists, breeders and decision makers to assess the extent to which crops are affected by drought. This paper evaluates some benefits of high spatial resolution for thermal imaging applications in field conditions. The study indicates that careful selection of information-rich areas in canopy images captures temperature differences that are filtered out in lower resolution configurations.


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Ultrastructural and biochemical changes induced by salt stress in Jatropha curcas seeds during germination and seedling development 
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Nara L. M. Alencar , Cibelle G. Gadelha , Maria I. Gallão , Mary A. H. Dolder , José T. Prisco and Enéas Gomes-Filho
pp. 865-874

Jatropha curcas emerges as potential energy source but the effects of NaCl stress on germination and seed reserves are poorly known. Salt stress delays protein and lipid mobilisation and promotes ultrastructural changes in endosperm cells. Seed germination of J. curcas is inhibited through increase the Na+ and Cl accumulation in the embryo axes and endosperm of seeds.


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Compact panicle architecture is detrimental for growth as well as sucrose synthase activity of developing rice kernels 
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B. B. Panda , A. K. Badoghar , K. Das , R. Panigrahi , E. Kariali , S. R. Das , S. K. Dash , B. P. Shaw and P. K. Mohapatra
pp. 875-887

Poor synthesis of starch in the grains on the basal part of rice panicle of modern rice cultivars underscores their potential for high grain yield. The study identified genetic expression of starch synthesising enzymes, particularly sucrose synthase, poor in the in the inferior type grains. Harnessing high yield in these rice cultivars need genetic manipulation of the enzyme for improved grain filling.

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The hydraulic architecture of Eucalyptus trees growing across a gradient of depth-to-groundwater 
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Sepideh Zolfaghar , Randol Villalobos-Vega , Melanie Zeppel and Derek Eamus
pp. 888-898

Over extraction of groundwater is a serious problem globally because it negatively impacts on groundwater dependent vegetation. This paper compares the hydraulic architecture of Eucalyptus woodlands across a naturally occurring gradient of depth-to-groundwater and shows that significant variation in hydraulic traits occurs in response to differences in depth-to-groundwater. This is the first such study in a mesic environment and shows even in high rainfall zones extraction of groundwater require careful control.

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Constitutively overexpressing a tomato fructokinase gene (LeFRK1) in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L. cv. Coker 312) positively affects plant vegetative growth, boll number and seed cotton yield 
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Thiya Mukherjee , Mariana Ivanova , Marisela Dagda , Yoshinori Kanayama , David Granot and A. Scott Holaday
pp. 899-908

Increasing gene expression for the fructokinase that phosphorylates fructose in cotton improves seed cotton and fibre yield through positive effects on seed number per boll, boll number, leaf number and area, and stem diameter. We hypothesise that some processes associated with cotton development are constrained by fructose inhibition of the sucrose synthase required for sucrose metabolism in growing cells. Improving fructokinase activity may improve fibre yield through its indirect effects on photosynthetic capacity.

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Effects of elevated temperature on sucrose metabolism and cellulose synthesis in cotton fibre during secondary cell wall development 
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Yanjiao Dai , Binglin Chen , Yali Meng , Wenqing Zhao , Zhiguo Zhou , Derrick M. Oosterhuis and Youhua Wang
pp. 909-919

Global warming has posed a major threat to cotton fibre development. This work shows that elevated temperature had negative impacts on sucrose metabolism and on cellulose synthesis in cotton fibre during fibre secondary wall development. Our results suggest that the cellulose content in cotton fibre is positively correlated with temperatures above 15°C but under 30°C.


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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

    FP15172  Accepted 21 August 2015
    Copper amine oxidase (CuAO)-catalyzed hydrogen peroxide involves production of nitric oxide in darkness-induced stomatal closure in broad bean
    Ai-Xia Huang, Yongshun Wang, Xiaoping She, Juan Mu, Jinliang Zhao

    FP15003  Accepted 17 August 2015
    Responses of pea plants to elevated UV-B radiation at varying nutrient levels: N-metabolism, carbohydrate pool, total phenolics and yield
    Suruchi Singh, Shashi Agrawal, Madhoolika Agrawal

    FP15140  Accepted 10 August 2015
    Modeling photosynthesis in flag leaves of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) considering the variation of photosynthesis parameters during development
    Jingsong Sun, Jindong Sun, Zhaozhong Feng

    FP15033  Accepted 01 July 2015
    The Significance of Image Compression in Plant Phenotyping Applications
    Massimo Minervini, Hanno Scharr, Sotirios Tsaftaris


The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 13 February 2015
The structure and activity of nodulation-suppressing CLE peptide hormones of legumes

April H. Hastwell, Peter M. Gresshoff and Brett J. Ferguson

2. Published 10 July 2015
Cryptic crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) in Jatropha curcas

Klaus Winter and Joseph A. M. Holtum

3. Published 30 September 2014
Genomics for drought resistance – getting down to earth

Abraham Blum

4. Published 30 September 2014
Strategies to increase the yield and yield stability of crops under drought – are we making progress?

Neil C. Turner, Abraham Blum, Mehmet Cakir, Pasquale Steduto, Roberto Tuberosa and Neil Young

5. Published 7 January 2015
High night temperature induces contrasting responses for spikelet fertility, spikelet tissue temperature, flowering characteristics and grain quality in rice

Onoriode Coast, Richard H. Ellis, Alistair J. Murdoch, Cherryl Quiñones and Krishna S. V. Jagadish

6. Published 30 September 2014
Two potato (Solanum tuberosum) varieties differ in drought tolerance due to differences in root growth at depth

Jaime Puértolas, Carlos Ballester, E. David Elphinstone and Ian C. Dodd

7. Published 12 May 2015
Towards a conceptual ABA ideotype in plant breeding for water limited environments

Abraham Blum

8. Published 30 September 2014
Phenotyping novel stay-green traits to capture genetic variation in senescence dynamics

John T. Christopher, Mathieu Veyradier, Andrew K. Borrell, Greg Harvey, Susan Fletcher and Karine Chenu

9. Published 12 March 2015
Image based phenotyping during winter: a powerful tool to assess wheat genetic variation in growth response to temperature

Christoph Grieder, Andreas Hund and Achim Walter

10. Published 12 May 2015
Effects of different temperature regimes on flower development, microsporogenesis and fertility in bolting garlic (Allium sativum)

Einat Shemesh Mayer, Tomer Ben-Michael, Sagie Kimhi, Itzhak Forer, Haim D. Rabinowitch and Rina Kamenetsky

11. Published 11 December 2014
Suppression of starch synthesis in rice stems splays tiller angle due to gravitropic insensitivity but does not affect yield

Masaki Okamura, Tatsuro Hirose, Yoichi Hashida, Ryu Ohsugi and Naohiro Aoki

12. Published 30 September 2014
Partial root zone drying exerts different physiological responses on field-grown grapevine (Vitis vinifera cv. Monastrell) in comparison to regulated deficit irrigation

Pascual Romero, Juan Gabriel Pérez-Pérez, Francisco M. del Amor, Adrián Martinez-Cutillas, Ian C. Dodd and Pablo Botía

13. Published 13 April 2015
On the evaluation of methods for the recovery of plant root systems from X-ray computed tomography images

Stefan Mairhofer, Craig Sturrock, Darren M. Wells, Malcolm J. Bennett, Sacha J. Mooney and Tony P. Pridmore

14. Published 13 April 2015
Surface reconstruction of wheat leaf morphology from three-dimensional scanned data

Daryl M. Kempthorne, Ian W. Turner, John A. Belward, Scott W. McCue, Mark Barry, Joseph Young, Gary J. Dorr, Jim Hanan and Jerzy A. Zabkiewicz

15. Published 13 February 2015
Auxin-modulated root growth inhibition in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings with ammonium as the sole nitrogen source

Huaiyu Yang, Jenny von der Fecht-Bartenbach, Ji?í Friml, Jan U. Lohmann, Benjamin Neuhäuser and Uwe Ludewig

16. Published 7 January 2015
Ionic and photosynthetic homeostasis in quinoa challenged by salinity and drought – mechanisms of tolerance

Fatemeh Razzaghi, Sven-Erik Jacobsen, Christian Richardt Jensen and Mathias Neumann Andersen

17. Published 30 September 2014
Mucilage exudation facilitates root water uptake in dry soils

Mutez A. Ahmed, Eva Kroener, Maire Holz, Mohsen Zarebanadkouki and Andrea Carminati

18. Published 12 March 2015
The variability in the xylem architecture of grapevine petiole and its contribution to hydraulic differences

Uri Hochberg, Asfaw Degu, Tanya Gendler, Aaron Fait and Shimon Rachmilevitch

19. Published 30 September 2014
Quantitative trait locus mapping of the transpiration ratio related to preflowering drought tolerance in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor)

Mohankumar H. Kapanigowda, William A. Payne, William L. Rooney, John E. Mullet and Maria Balota

20. Published 11 December 2014
Foliar trait contrasts between African forest and savanna trees: genetic versus environmental effects

Franziska Schrodt, Tomas F. Domingues, Ted R. Feldpausch, Gustavo Saiz, Carlos Alberto Quesada, Michael Schwarz, F. Yoko Ishida, Halidou Compaore, Adamo Diallo, Gloria Djagbletey, Fidele Hien, Bonaventure Sonké, Herman Toedoumg, Loius Zapfack, Pierre Hiernaux, Eric Mougin, Michael. I. Bird, John Grace, Simon L. Lewis, Elmar M. Veenendaal and Jon Lloyd

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