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Soil water deficit decreases xylem conductance efficiency relative to leaf area and mass in the apple

Lauri P.E., Marceron A., Normand F., Dambreville A., Regnard J.L.. 2014. Journal of Plant Hydraulics, 1 (e003) : 12 p..

It is generally postulated that at the tree scale a drought-related decrease in hydraulic conductance is balanced by a decrease of leaf area. We hypothesized that, at the individual leaf scale, drought affects the allometry between leaf area or mass and hydraulics, leading to a non-linear relationships between these traits. The study was conducted on well-watered and on water-stressed shoots of several apple genotypes covering an extended range of leaf area. Working on dried leaves, we measured leaf lamina area and mass and analyzed their relationships with the maximal xylem hydraulic conductance of the water pathway through the parent shoot and the petiole connected to the leaf lamina. Drought decreased leaf area and mass in absolute values. It also changes the allometric relationships between these two variables:for a same decrease of leaf dry mass the water-stressed shoot had a lower decrease of leaf dry area than the well-watered shoot. Our study also showed that drought affected the stem-to-petiole hydraulics with a higher hydraulic efficiency in the well-watered shoot compared to the water-stressed shoot. We discuss that, compared to the well-watered condition, drought not only decreased leaf size, but also reduced xylem efficiency through the stem-to-petiole pathway with regard to the leaf area and mass supplied.

Mots-clés : malus pumila; france

Thématique : Physiologie végétale : croissance et développement; Troubles divers des plantes; Génétique et amélioration des plantes; Chimie et physique du sol

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