, 47:363 | Cite as

Shade mitigates photoinhibition and enhances water use efficiency in kiwifruit under drought

  • G. Montanaro
  • B. Dichio
  • C. Xiloyannis
Original Papers


We tested the hypotheses that a reduction of incident light of 50 % over sun-acclimated leaves of water stressed kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa var. deliciosa) would (1) reduce stomatal limitations to carbon supply and (2) mitigate the inactivation of the primary photochemistry associated with photosystem (PS) II, thereby this increases carbon gain and water-use efficiency (WUE). Groups of field-grown vines were either shaded or left naturally exposed and subjected to progressive water stress in order to study moderately and severely droughted vines, while other groups were well irrigated. Daily variations in leaf gas exchange and midday chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence were determined once plants had −0.6 MPa (moderate stress) and −1.0 MPa pre-down leaf water potential (severe stress). Variations in Chl pigment content and specific leaf area (SLA) are also discussed. Results reveal that 50 % shade application maintained efficiency of PSII close to 0.8 even under severe drought so that to prevent its large decline (0.65) recorded in sunlit leaves. Under moderate stress level stomata behaviour dominated upon metabolic impairments of PSII. Reduction of irradiance increased WUE (15–20 %) in droughted vines, representing a valuable intervention to save photosynthetic apparatus and improve WUE in vines experiencing typical Mediterranean summer stresses.

Additional keywords

carbon gain excessive radiation photosynthesis semi-arid condition shade stomatal limitation water use efficiency 





leaf transpiration


minimal fluorescence of dark-adapted state


maximum fluorescence of dark-adapted leaves


stomatal conductance


net photosynthetic rate


photosynthetic photon flux density


photosystem II


specific leaf area


leaf-to-air vapour pressure deficit


leaf water potential


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Crop Systems, Forestry and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BasilicataPotenzaItaly

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