Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 37:214 | Cite as

Comparative examinations of gas exchange and biometric parameters of eight fast-growing poplar clones

  • Dietmar Lüttschwager
  • Dietrich Ewald
  • Lucía Atanet Alía
Original Article


The establishment of short-rotation poplar plantations for the sustainable production of raw material and energy is often limited by low precipitation and poor soil conditions. Breeding research must therefore focus on combining performance with drought tolerance. Eight poplar clones were generated by tissue culture. Three times during seasonal development, photosynthesis and transpiration were measured in fully developed leaves under controlled conditions in a climate chamber. Light response curves were modelled based on these data. The efficiency of water use was analysed for all clones under well-watered conditions, and partly significant differences were observed with regard to intrinsic water use efficiency (WUE). Moreover, at the end of the season, the plants were considerably different in their biometrics, particularly in the shoot–root relationship, which might substantially influence drought resistance. A general ranking of the performance of the clones is difficult because certain physiological parameters turn over during the course of the season. However, certain “strategies” that could be divided into “generalist” and “specialist” stand out for individual clones. The aspen clone Großdubrau 1 (“specialist”) showed the maximum height, the greatest seasonal differences in WUE and the most weakly developed root system. By contrast, the poplar clone Max 2 (“generalist”) had the lowest height increase but a well-developed root system and lower volatility in WUE. Thus, drought tolerance under stress conditions may exhibit a degree of predictability. Therefore, a dry stress experiment is planned to test the two contrasting clones.


Poplar Photosynthesis Light response Water use efficiency Wood density 



This project was funded and supported by the BMELV, German Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) under FKZ: 22012510. Lucia Atanet Alia was the recipient of an FNR-research grant. We would like to thank Christine Ewald for her valuable knowledge and help with the establishment of plant material, measurement protocols and technical analysis methods.


  1. Avola G, Cavallaro V, Patane C, Riggi E (2008) Gas exchange and photosynthetic water use efficiency in response to light, CO2 concentration and temperature in Vicia faba. J Plant Physiol 165:796–804CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bunn SM, Rae AM, Herbert CS, Taylor G (2004) Leaf-level productivity traits in Populus grown in short rotation coppice for biomass energy. Forestry 27:307–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cai J, Tyree MT (2010) The impact of vessel size on vulnerability curves: data and models for within species variability in saplings of aspen, Populus tremuloides Michx. Plant Cell Environ 33:1059–1069CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Cao X, Jia JB, Li H, Li MC, Luo J, Liang ZS, Liu TX, Liu WG, Peng CH, Luo ZB (2012) Photosynthesis, water use efficiency and stable carbon isotope composition are associated with anatomical properties of leaf and xylem in six poplar species. Plant Biol 14:612–620CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Ceulemans R, Isebrands JG (1996) Carbon acquisition and allocation. In: Stettler RF, Bradshaw HD Jr, Heilman PE, Hinckley TM (eds) Biology of Populus. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, pp 355–399Google Scholar
  6. Ceulemans R, Taylor G, Bosac C, Wilkins D, Besford RT (1997) Photosynthetic acclimation to elevated CO2 in poplar grown in glasshouse cabinets or in open top chambers depends on duration of exposure. J Exp Bot 48:1681–1689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chaves MM, Osirio J, Pereira JS (2000) Water use and photosynthesis. In: Bacon MA (ed) Water use efficiency in plant biology. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp 42–74Google Scholar
  8. Collins M, Booth BBB, Harris GR, Murphy JM, Sexton DMH, Webb MJ (2006) Towards quantifying uncertainty in transient climate change. Clim Dyn 27:127–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Condon AG, Richards RA, Rebetzke GJ, Farquhar GD (2004) Breeding for high water-use efficiency. J Exp Bot 55:2447–2460CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Dickmann DI, Keathley DE (1996) Linking physiology, molecular genetics, and the Populus ideotype. In: Stettler RF, Bradshaw HD Jr, Heilman PE, Hinckley TM (eds) Biology of Populus. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, pp 491–514Google Scholar
  11. Dijkstra P (1990) Cause and effects of differences in specific leaf area. In: Lambers H (ed) Causes and consequences of variation in growth rate and productivity of higher plants. SPB Academic publishing, Hague, Netherlands, pp 125–140Google Scholar
  12. Ehleringer JR, Björkman O (1977) Quantum yields for CO2 uptake in C3 and C4 plants: dependence on temperature, CO2, and O2 concentration. Plant Physiol 59:86–90PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Ewald D, Ulrich K, Naujoks G, Schröder MB (2009) Induction of tetraploid poplar and black locust plants using colchicine: chloroplast number as an early marker for selecting poplyploids in vitro. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 99:353–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Farquhar GD, Ehleringer JR, Hubick KT (1989) Carbon-isotope discrimination and photosynthesis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Mol Biol 40:503–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hacke UG, Sperry JS, Pockman WT, Davis SD, McCulloh KA (2001) Trends in wood density and structure are linked to prevention of xylem implosion by negative pressure. Oecologia 126:457–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hull-Sanders HM, Johnson RH, Owen HA, Meyer GA (2009) Effects of polyploidy on secondary chemistry, physiology and performance of native and invasive genotypes of Solidago gigantea (Asteraceae). Am J Bot 96:762–770CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Jacobsen AL, Ewers FW, Pratt RB, Paddock WA, Davis SD (2005) Do xylem fibers affect vessel cavitation resistance? Plant Physiol 139:546–556PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kjellström E, Nikulin G, Hansson U, Strandberg G, Ullerstig A (2011) 21st century changes in the European climate: uncertainties derived from an ensemble of regional climate model simulations. Tellus A 63:24–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lens F, Sperry JS, Christman MA, Choat B, Rabaey D, Jansen S (2011) Testing hypotheses that link wood anatomy to cavitation resistance and hydraulic conductivity in the genus Acer. New Phytol 190:709–723CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Lichtenthaler HK, Wellburn AR (1983) Determinations of total carotenoids and chlorophylls a and b of leaf extracts in different solvents. Biochem Soc Trans 11:591–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Marron N, Dreyer E, Boudouresque E, Delay D, Petit JM, Delmotte FM, Brignolas F (2003) Impact of successive drought and re-watering cycles on growth and specific leaf area of two Populus × canadensis (Moench) clones, ‘Dorskamp’ and ‘Luisa_Avanzo’. Tree Physiol 23:1225–1235CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Michael DA, Dickmann DI, Isenbrands JG, Nelson ND (1990) Photosynthesis patterns during the establishment year within two Populus clones with contrasting morphology and phenology. Tree Physiol 6:11–27CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Monclus R, Dreyer E, Villar M, Delmotte FM, Delay D, Petit JM, Barbaroux C, Le Thiec D, Brèchet C, Brignolas F (2006) Impact of drought on productivity and water use efficiency in 29 genotypes of Populus deltoides × Populus nigra. New Phytol 169:765–777CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Niinemets Ü (2001) Climatic controls of leaf dry mass per area, density and thickness in trees and shrubs at the global scale. Ecology 82:453–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pärnik T, Ivanova H, Keerberg O, Vardja R, Niinemets Ü (2014) Tree-age dependent changes in photosynthetic and respiratory CO2 exchange in leaves of micropropagated diploid, triploid and hybrid aspen. Tree Physiol 34:585–594CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Qi C, Jin C, Kailong L (2010) Comparison of photosynthesis characteristics between different ploidies of Populus ussuriensis Kom. Plant Physiol J 46:917–922Google Scholar
  27. Reich PB (1983) Effects of low concentrations of O3 on net photosynthesis, dark respiration, and chlorophyll contents in aging hybrid Poplar leaves. Plant Physiol 73:291–296PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Ripullone F, Grassi G, Lateri M, Borghetti M (2003) Photosynthesis–nitrogen relationships: interpretation of different patterns between Pseudotsuga menziesii and Populus × euroamericana in a mini-stand experiment. Tree Physiol 23:137–144CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Schildbach M, Wolf H, Hartmann K-U (2012) Untersuchungen zur abiotischen Resistenz schnellwachsender Baumarten. In: Züchtung und Ertragsleistung schnellwachsender Baumarten im Kurzumtrieb—Erkenntnisse aus drei Jahren FastWOOD, ProLoc und Weidenzüchtung. Beiträge aus der Nordwestdeutschen Forstlichen Versuchsanstalt, vol. 8, Hann. Münden, Germany, pp 237–256Google Scholar
  30. Schreiber SG, Hacke UG, Hamann A, Thomas BR (2011) Genetic variation of hydraulic and wood anatomical traits in hybrid poplar and trembling aspen. New Phytol 190:150–160CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Schulte M, Offer C, Hansen U (2003) Induction of CO2 gas exchange and electron transport: comparison of dynamic and steady-state responses in Fagus sylvatica leaves. Trees 17:153–163Google Scholar
  32. Soolanayakanahally RY, Guy RD, Silim SN, Drewes EC, Schroeder WR (2009) Enhanced assimilation rate and water use efficiency with latitude through increased photosynthetic capacity and internal conductance in balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.). Plant Cell Environ 32:1821–1832CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Sperry JS, Hacke UG, Oren R, Comstock JP (2002) Water deficits and hydraulic limits to leaf water supply. Plant Cell Environ 25:251–263CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Tambussi EA, Bort J, Araus JL (2007) Water use efficiency in C3 cereals under mediterranean conditions—a review of physiological aspects. Ann Appl Biol 150:307–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tyree M (1989) Cavitation in trees and hydraulic sufficiency of woody stems. Ann Sci For 46:330–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ulrich K, Ulrich A, Ewald D (2008) Diversity of endophytic bacterial communities in poplar grown under field conditions. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 63:169–180CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. US Environmental Protection Agency (1999) Biological aspects of hybrid poplar cultivation on floodplains in Western North America—a review. (EPA Document No. 910-R-99-002)Google Scholar
  38. Webb WL, Newton M, Starr D (1974) Carbon dioxide exchange of Alnus rubra—a mathematical model. Oecologia 17:281–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yasumura Y, Hikosaka K, Hirose T (2006) Seasonal changes in photosynthesis, nitrogen content and nitrogen partitioning in Lindera umbellata leaves grown in high or low irradiance. Tree Physiol 26:1315–1323CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Yin C, Wang X, Duan B, Luo J, Li C (2005) Early growth, dry matter allocation and water use efficiency of two sympatric Populus species as affected by water stress. Environ Exp Bot 53:315–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhang X, Zang R, Li C (2004) Population differences in physiological and morphological adaptations of Populus davidiana seedlings in response to progressive drought stress. Plant Sci 166:791–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zhao S (2006) Nitrogen nutrition of hybrid poplars. Master Thesis, Washington State University, p 46Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietmar Lüttschwager
    • 1
  • Dietrich Ewald
    • 2
  • Lucía Atanet Alía
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)Institute of Landscape BiogeochemistryMünchebergGermany
  2. 2.Thünen-Institute of Forest GeneticsWaldsieversdorfGermany

Personalised recommendations