, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 381-390

Relationships among Rhizosphere Oxygen Deficiency, Root Restriction, Photosynthesis, and Growth in Baldcypress (Taxodium Distichum L.) Seedlings

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Abstract

Seedlings of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum L.) grown in sealed containers containing nutrient solution were subjected to root-zone oxygen deficiency, physical restriction, and the combined stresses in a greenhouse. After six weeks of treatments (Phase I), half of the plants were harvested. The remaining half were allowed to continue (Phase II) under various treatments except plants that had restricted roots were freed thus allowing free expansion of roots into the nutrient solution. Oxygen deficiency and root physical restriction inhibited plant gas exchange parameters. Net photosynthetic rate (PN) was significantly higher in aerated unrestricted root (AUR) plants than in aerated root restricted (AR) plants and in anaerobic root unrestricted (FUR) plants than in anaerobic root restricted (FR) plants. After Phase I, FUR plants' shoot and root biomasses were 57.0 and 30.6 % lower than those of AUR plants, and AUR plants showed 3.3 and 3.8 times greater shoot and root biomasses than the AR plants, respectively. During Phase II, PN recovered rapidly in plants under aerated conditions, but not in plants under anaerobic conditions. The removal of physical root restriction under both aerated and anaerobic conditions resulted in rapid shoot and root growth in seedlings. Hence, root restriction or root-zone anaerobiosis, reductions in plant gas exchange, and biomass production in baldcypress were closely interrelated. In addition, root release from restriction was related to the regain of photosynthetic activity and biomass growth. The results support the previously proposed source-sink feed-back inhibition of photosynthesis in plants subjected to root-zone oxygen deficiency or physical restriction.