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Root water potential integrates discrete soil physical properties to influence ABA signalling during partial rootzone drying

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Ian C. Dodd
  • Gregorio Egea
  • Chris W. Watts
  • W. Richard Whalley
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Experimental Botany
Issue number13
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)3543-3551
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


To investigate the influence of different growing substrates (two mineral, two organic) on root xylem ABA concentration ([ABA](root)) and the contribution of the drying root system to total sap flow during partial rootzone drying (PRD), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) shoots were grafted onto the root systems of two plants grown in separate pots. Sap flow through each hypocotyl was measured below the graft union when one pot ('wet') was watered and other ('dry') was not. Each substrate gave unique relationships between dry pot matric potential (Psi(soil)), volumetric water content (theta(v)) or penetrometer resistance (Q) and either the fraction of photoperiod sap flow from roots in drying soil or [ABA](root). However, decreased relative sap flow, and increased [ABA](root), from roots in drying soil varied with root water potential (Psi(root)) more similarly across a range of substrates. The gradient between Psi(soil) and Psi(root) was greater in substrates with high sand or peat proportions, which may have contributed to a more sensitive response of [ABA](root) to Psi(soil) in these substrates. Whole plant transpiration was most closely correlated with the mean Psi(soil) of both pots, and then with detached leaf xylem ABA concentration. Although Psi(root) best predicted decreased relative sap flow, and increased [ABA](root), from roots in drying soil across a range of substrates, the inaccessibility of this variable in field studies requires a better understanding of how measurable soil variables (Psi(soil), theta(v), Q) affect Psi(root).