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Diurnal variations in abscisic acid content and stomatal response to applied abscisic acid in leaves of irrigated and non-irrigated Arbutus unedo plants under naturally fluctuating environmental conditions

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Summary

Endogenous abscisic acid content (ABA) of Arbutus unedo leaves growing under natural conditions in a macchia near Sobreda, Portugal, was very high (0.25 to 2.3 μg g1 fresh weight). Highest concentrations were found during the very early morning hours and at midday. During the late morning hours and in the late afternoon ABA concentrations decreased to between one-third and one-fourth of peak values. The samples for ABA content were obtained from both irrigated (Ψ between-10 and-25 bar) and non-irrigated plants experiencing natural water stress during the dry season (Ψ of-50 bar). During the course of the measurement day, stomatal conductance was relatively constant and conductance of watered plants was 50 to 100% greater than that of unwatered plants. No clear correlations between ABA content and stomatal conductance and/or xylem water potential were observed. Despite large differences in water potential and differences in degree of stomatal opening, absolute concentrations of ABA were not found to differ.

Small quantities (8–14 pmoles cm2 leaf area) of ABA were applied to leaves of irrigated and non-irrigated Arbutus unedo plants by injection into the petiole. These extremely small ABA doses resulted in transient reductions in stomatal conductance. The effectiveness with which injected ABA closed stomata was highest during the morning and decreased substantially at midday. Increased sensitivity to injected ABA may again occur in the late afternoon but recent measurements suggest that this may depend on long-term drought experience of the plants. The characteristics of the response to injected ABA were similar in irrigated and non-irrigated plants although irrigated plants responded in general more strongly.

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Correspondence to Wolfram Hartung.

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Burschka, C., Tenhunen, J.D. & Hartung, W. Diurnal variations in abscisic acid content and stomatal response to applied abscisic acid in leaves of irrigated and non-irrigated Arbutus unedo plants under naturally fluctuating environmental conditions. Oecologia 58, 128–131 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00384552

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Keywords

  • Abscisic Acid
  • Stomatal Conductance
  • Late Afternoon
  • Stomatal Opening
  • Stomatal Response