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Plant and Soil

, Volume 430, Issue 1–2, pp 23–35 | Cite as

Optimized potassium nutrition improves plant-water-relations of barley under PEG-induced osmotic stress

  • Ershad Tavakol
  • Bálint Jákli
  • Ismail Cakmak
  • Klaus Dittert
  • Petr Karlovsky
  • Katharina Pfohl
  • Mehmet Senbayram
Regular Article

Abstract

Aims

Water use efficiency (WUE) of crop plants is an important plant trait for maintaining high yield in water limited areas. By influencing osmoregulation of plants, potassium (K) plays a critical role in stress avoidance and adaptation. However, whole plant physiological mechanisms modulated by K supply in respect of plant drought tolerance and water use efficiency are not well understood. In the present study, growth, development and transpiration dynamics of two barley cultivars were evaluated with and without PEG-induced osmotic stress using an automated balance system and image based leaf area determination.

Methods

Experiments were conducted to study the effects of varied K supply under different osmotic stress treatments on a wide range of morphological, biochemical and physiological characteristics of barley plants such as leaf area development, daily whole plant transpiration rate (DTR), stomatal conductance (gs), assimilation rate (AN), biomass and leaf water use efficiency (WUE) as well as foliar abscisic acid (ABA) concentrations. Two barley cultivars (cv. Sahin-91 and cv. Milford) were treated with two K supply levels (0.04 and 0.8 mM K) and osmotic stress induced by polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG) for a period of 9 days (in total 48 days experiment) in the hydroponic plant culture (non-PEG and + 20% PEG ).

Results

Without PEG, low-K supply depressed dry matter (DM) by almost 60% averaged across both cultivars. Under osmotic stress (+PEG), total leaf area was reduced by almost 70% in low-K compared to adequate-K plants. Low K concentration under PEG stress was correlated with higher ABA concentration and was correlated with lower leaf- and whole plant transpiration rate. Biomass-WUE under low K supply decreased significantly in both barley cultivars, to a greater extent in cv. Milford under osmotic stress. However, leaf-WUE was not affected by K supply in the absence of osmotic stress.

Conclusions

It was suggested that reduced biomass-WUE in low-K treated barley plants was not related to inefficient stomatal control under K deficiency, but instead due to reduced assimilation rate. It was further hypothesized that under low K supply, a number of energy consuming activities reduce biomass-WUE, which are not distinguished by measuring leaf-WUE. This study showed that low K supply under osmotic stress increases foliar ABA concentration thereby decreasing plant transpiration.

Keywords

ABA concentration Potassium nutrition concentration Stomatal conductance Transpiration Water use efficiency 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research performed for this paper was financed by K+S KALI GmbH, Germany. We would also like to thank the staff of IAPN and the plant nutrition group of Göttingen University for their technical support.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication June/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.K+S KALI GmbHKasselGermany
  2. 2.Department of Crop Science, Section of Plant Nutrition & Crop PhysiologyGeorg-August University GoettingenGoettingenGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabanci UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  4. 4.Department of Crop SciencesMolecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research, Georg-August University GoettingenGoettingenGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, University of HarranSanliurfaTurkey

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