Background and aims
Liming is considered normal agricultural practise for remediating soil acidity and improving crop productivity; however recommended lime applications can reduce yield. We tested the hypothesis that elevated xylem sap Ca2+ limited gas exchange of Phaseolus vulgaris L. and Pisum sativum L. plants that exhibited reduced shoot biomass and leaf area when limed.
We used Scholander and whole-plant pressure chamber techniques to collect root and leaf xylem sap, a calcium-specific ion-selective electrode to measure xylem sap Ca2+, infra-red gas analysis to measure gas exchange of limed and unlimed (control) plants, and a detached leaf transpiration bioassay to determine stomatal sensitivity to Ca2+.
Liming reduced shoot biomass, leaf area and leaf gas exchange in both species. Root xylem sap Ca2+ concentration was only increased in P. vulgaris and not in P. sativum. Detached leaves of both species required 5 mM Ca2+ supplied to via the transpiration stream to induce stomatal closure, however, maximum in vivo xylem sap Ca2+ concentrations of limed plants was only 1.7 mM and thus not high enough to influence stomata.
We conclude that an alternative xylem-borne antitranspirant other than Ca2+ decreases gas exchange of limed plants.
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SR thanks the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for award of a studentship in support of this work and Horiba UK Ltd are thanked for the kind donation of the calcium ion-selective electrode.
Responsible Editor: Hans Lambers..
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Rothwell, S.A., Dodd, I.C. Xylem sap calcium concentrations do not explain liming-induced inhibition of legume gas exchange. Plant Soil 382, 17–30 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-014-2118-5
- Pisum sativum
- Phaseolus vulgaris
- Stomatal conductance
- Xylem sap