, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 698–706 | Cite as

Leaf plasticity and stomatal regulation determines the ability of Arundo donax plantlets to cope with water stress

  • A. Romero-MunarEmail author
  • E. Baraza
  • J. Cifre
  • C. Achir
  • J. Gulías
Original paper


The objective of this study was to evaluate the response of the giant reed (Arundo donax L.) to drought stress at early stages, as well as to determine the effects of limited soil water availability on plant growth, gas exchange, and water-use efficiency. Plantlets of a commercial clone were grown in a greenhouse under two water treatments: at 100% of field capacity and progressive drought for 66 days (until 20% of field capacity). Soil water content, leaf elongation rate, plant water consumption, and gas-exchange parameters were measured throughout the experiment. Total plant biomass, leaf water, and osmotic potential were determined at the end of the experiment. Plant growth and leaf gas-exchange parameters were significantly affected by soil water availability, but only when it was below 40% of field capacity. At early stages, Arundo donax showed drought stress acclimation due to leaf plasticity, stomatal regulation, and osmotic adjustment.

Additional key words

early stage osmotic potential stomatal conductance water deficit 



chloroplastic CO2 concentration




substomatal CO2 concentration


days after transplantation


field capacity percentage


stomatal conductance


mesophyll conductance


total water consumption


the potential light- saturated electron transport rate


the electron transport rate


net photosynthetic rate


respiration rate in the light


the respiratory rate in the absence of light


the maximum Rubisco carboxylation rate




water-use efficiency




Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Supplementary material

11099_2017_719_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (150 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 228 KB.


  1. Angelini L.G., Ceccarini L., Bonari E.: Biomass yield and energy balance of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) cropped in central Italy as related to different management practices. — Eur. J. Agron. 22: 375–389, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anjum S., Xie X., Wang L.: Morphological, physiological and biochemical responses of plants to drought stress. — Afr. J. Agr. Res. 6: 2026–2032, 2011.Google Scholar
  3. Arcidiacono C., Porto S.M.C.: Life cycle assessment of Arundo donax biomass production in a mediterranean experimental field using treated wastewater. — J. Agric. Eng. 42: 29–38, 2012.Google Scholar
  4. Babu R.C., Pathan M.S., Blum A., Nguyen H.T.: Comparison of measurement methods of osmotic adjustment in rice cultivars. — Crop Sci. 39: 150–158, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell G.P.: Ecology and management of Arundo donax, and approaches to riparian habitat restoration in southern California. — In: Brock J (ed.): Plant Invasions: Studies from North America and Europe. Pp. 103–113. Backhuys, Leiden 1997.Google Scholar
  6. Bernacchi C.J., Portis A.R., Nakano H. et al.: Temperature response of mesophyll conductance. Implications for the determination of rubisco enzyme kinetics and for limitations to photosynthesis in vivo. — Plant Physiol. 130: 1992–1998, 2002.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Condon A.G., Richards R.A., Rebetzke G.J., Farquhar G.D.: Improving intrinsic water-use efficiency and crop yield. — Crop Sci. 42: 122–131, 2002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Fernández R.J., Reynolds J.F.: Potential growth and drought tolerance of eight desert grasses: lack of a trade-off? — Oecologia 123: 90–98, 2000.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Flexas J., Bota J., Cifre J. et al.: Understanding down-regulation of photosynthesis under water stress: future prospects and searching for physiological tools for irrigation management. — Ann. Appl. Biol. 144: 273–283, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flexas J., Diaz-Espejo A., Galmés J., et al.: Rapid variations of mesophyll conductance in response to changes in CO2 concentration around leaves. — Plant Cell Environ. 30: 1284–1298, 2007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. French R.J., Schultz J.E.: Water use efficiency of wheat in a Mediterranean-type environment. The relation between yield, water use and climate. — Aust. J. Agr. Res. 35: 743–764, 1984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Galmés J., Medrano H., Flexas J.: Photosynthetic limitations in response to water stress and recovery in Mediterranean plants with different growth forms. — New Phytol. 175: 81–93, 2007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Grassi G., Magnani F.: Stomatal, mesophyll conductance and biochemical limitations to photosynthesis as affected by drought and leaf ontogeny in ash and oak trees. — Plant Cell Environ. 28: 834–849, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gulías J., Cifre J., Jonasson S. et al.: Seasonal and inter-annual variations of gas exchange in thirteen woody species along a climatic gradient in the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. — Flora 204: 169–181, 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harley P.C., Thomas R.B., Reynolds J.F., Strain B.R.: Modelling photosynthesis of cotton grown in elevated CO2. — Plant Cell Environ. 15: 271–282, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haworth M., Centritto M., Giovannelli A. et al.: Xylem morphology determines the drought response of two Arundo donax ecotypes from contrasting habitats. — GCB Bioenergy. 9: 119–131, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hsiao T.C., Acevedo E., Fereres E., Henderson D.W.: Water stress, growth, and osmotic adjustment. — Philos. T. R. Soc. B 273: 479–500, 1976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kang S., Post W.M., Nichols J.A. et al.: Marginal lands: concept, assessment and management. — J. Agr. Sci. 5: 129–139, 2013.Google Scholar
  19. Lambert A., Dudley T., Saltonstall K.: Ecology and impacts of the large-statured invasive grasses Arundo donax and Phragmites australis in North America. — Invas. Plant Sci. Mana. 3: 489–494, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lewandowski I., Scurlock J.M.O., Lindvall E., Christou M.: The development and current status of perennial rhizomatous grasses as energy crops in the US and Europe. — Biomass Bioenerg. 25: 335–361, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liu F., Stützel H.: Biomass partitioning, specific leaf area, and water use efficiency of vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) in response to drought stress. — Sci. Hortic.-Amsterdam 102: 15–27, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mann J.J., Kyser G.B., Barney J.N., DiTomaso J.M.: Assessment of aboveground and belowground vegetative fragments as propagules in the bioenergy crops Arundo donax and Miscanthus x giganteus. — Bioenerg. Res. 6: 688–698, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Medrano H., Escalona J.M., Bota J. et al.: Regulation of photosynthesis of C3 plants in response to progressive drought: stomatal conductance as a reference parameter. — Ann. Bot.-London 89: 895–905, 2002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meier I.C., Leuschner C.: Leaf size and leaf area index in Fagus sylvatica forests: competing effects of precipitation, temperature, and nitrogen availability. — Ecosystems 11: 655–669, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morgan J.M.: Osmoregulation and water stress in higher plants. — Annu. Rev. Plant Physio. 35: 299–319, 1984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Niinemets U., Cescatti A., Rodeghiero M., Tosens T.: Complex adjustments of photosynthetic potentials and internal diffusion conductance to current and previous light availabilities and leaf age in Mediterranean evergreen species Quercus ilex. — Plant Cell Environ. 29: 1159–1178, 2006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Nobel P.S.: Physicochemical and Environmental Plant Physiology, 3rd ed. Pp. 540. Academic Press, Oxford 2009.Google Scholar
  28. Paredes D., Trigo R.M., Garcia-Herrera R., Trigo I.F.: Understanding precipitation changes in Iberia in early spring: Weather typing and storm-tracking approaches. — J. Hydrometeorol. 7: 101–113, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parry M., Flexas J., Medrano H.: Prospects for crop production under drought: research priorities and future directions. — Ann. Appl. Biol. 147: 211–226, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peguero-Pina J.J., Flexas J., Galmés J. et al.: Leaf anatomical properties in relation to differences in mesophyll conductance to CO2 and photosynthesis in two related Mediterranean Abies species. — Plant Cell Environ. 35: 2121–2129, 2012.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Perdue R.E.: Arundo donax. — Source of musical reeds and industrial cellulose. — Econ. Bot. 12: 368–404, 1958.Google Scholar
  32. Pilu R., Badone F., Michela L.: Giant reed (Arundo donax L.): A weed plant or a promising energy crop? — Afr. J. Biotechnol. 11: 9163–9174, 2012.Google Scholar
  33. Pilu R., Manca A., Landoni M.: Arundo donax as an energy crop: Pros and cons of the utilization of this perennial plant. — Maydica 58: 54–59, 2013.Google Scholar
  34. Poorter H., Remkes C.: Leaf area ratio and net assimilation rate of 24 wild species differing in relative growth rate. — Oecologia 83: 553–559, 1990.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Pou A., Flexas J., Alsina M.M. et al: Adjustments of water use efficiency by stomatal regulation during drought and recovery in the drought-adapted Vitis hybrid Richter-110 (V. berlandieri × V. rupestris). — Physiol. Plantarum 134: 313–323, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reich P.B., Walters M.B., Ellsworth D.S.: From tropics to tundra: global convergence in plant functioning. — P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94: 13730–13734, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sánchez E., Gil S., Azcón-Bieto J., Nogués S.: The response of Arundo donax L. (C3) and Panicum virgatum (C4) to different stresses. — Biomass Bioenerg. 85: 335–345, 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sánchez E., Scordia D., Lino G. et al.: Salinity and water stress effects on biomass production in different Arundo donax L. clones. — Bioenergy Res. 8: 1461–1479, 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Scordia D., Cosentino S.L., Lee J.W., Jeffries T.W.: Bioconversion of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) hemicellulose hydrolysate to ethanol by Scheffersomyces stipitis CBS6054. — Biomass Bioenerg. 39: 296–305, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shortall O.K.: “Marginal land” for energy crops: Exploring definitions and embedded assumptions. — Energ. Policy 62: 19–27, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stocker T.F., Qin D., Plattner G.K. et al.: Summary for policymakers. — In: IPCC: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013.Google Scholar
  42. Tomás M., Medrano H., Pou A. et al.: Water-use efficiency in grapevine cultivars grown under controlled conditions: Effects of water stress at the leaf and whole-plant level. — Aust. J. Grape Wine R. 18: 164–172, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Villagra P.E., Cavagnaro J.B.: Water stress effects on the seedling growth of Prosopis argentina and Prosopis alpataco. — J. Arid. Environ. 64: 390–400, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Webster R.J., Driever S.M., Kromdijk J. et al.: High C3 photosynthetic capacity and high intrinsic water use efficiency underlies the high productivity of the bioenergy grass Arundo donax. — Sci. Rep. 6: 20694, 2016.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  45. Wright I.J., Westoby M.: Understanding seedling growth relationships through specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen concentration: generalizations across growth forms and growth irradiance. — Oecologia 127: 21–29, 2001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Wright P., Morgan J.M., Jessop R.S.: Turgor maintenance by osmoregulation in Brassica napus and B. juncea under field conditions. — Ann. Bot.-London 80: 313–319, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wu F., Bao W., Li F., Wu N.: Effects of drought stress and N supply on the growth, biomass partitioning and water-use efficiency of Sophora davidii seedlings. — Environ. Exp. Bot. 63: 248–255, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Romero-Munar
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. Baraza
    • 1
  • J. Cifre
    • 1
  • C. Achir
    • 1
  • J. Gulías
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Group on Plant Biology under Mediterranean Conditions. Department of Biology. University of the Balearic IslandsCtra. ValldemossaPalma de MallorcaSpain

Personalised recommendations