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Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 235–244 | Cite as

Water relations and chlorophyll fluorescence responses of two leguminous trees from the Caatinga to different watering regimes

  • Bruna D. Souza
  • Marcos V. Meiado
  • Bruno M. Rodrigues
  • Mauro G. SantosEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Leguminous species, Piptadenia moniliformes (Benth.) and Trischidium molle (Benth.) H. E. Ireland, both prevalent in the Caatinga vegetation, were submitted to varying watering regimes under greenhouse conditions. In experiment I, 60-day-old P. moniliformes plants were maintained under suspended irrigation for 12 days. Assessment on day 12 of drought revealed that leaf relative water content decreased to 40% and stomatal conductance and transpiration were also strongly diminished. Apparent electron transport rate (ETR) and photochemical quenching (qP) values were reduced by water deficit treatment compared to controls, while non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) increased; however, the basal values were recovered in moisturized plants when analyzed after 48 h of rewatering. In experiment II, T. molle plants were watered once (1 ×), 3 (3 ×) or 5 times (5 ×) per week, up to day 65 after emergence. Chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and carotenoid contents were reduced in the 3 × and 5 × watering treatments. Photosystem II maximum efficiency (F v/F m′), ETR and qP values strongly decreased when drainage frequency and NPQ values were increased. Observation verified that chlorophyll fluorescence is a suitable tool for evaluating the developmental characteristics of the arboreal leguminous species studied. Analysis of the data obtained suggest that plant tolerance to the dry climate conditions of the Caatinga ecosystem is directly associated with fast physiological adaptation to water deficit, by accumulating biomass in the root system in detriment to the shoots. The data presented contribute to further understanding the developmental and physiological mechanisms that enable plant adaptation to dry climates and, particularly, to the unique dry environmental conditions of the Caatinga region.

Keywords

Arid environmental Drought tolerance Stomatal conductance Transpiration 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors M.V. Meiado and B.R.M. Rodrigues are grateful to the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for the scholarships.

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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruna D. Souza
    • 1
  • Marcos V. Meiado
    • 1
  • Bruno M. Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Mauro G. Santos
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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