Drought-induced tree decline is a complex event, and recent hypotheses suggest that hydraulic failure and carbon starvation are co-responsible for this process. We tested the possible role of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) content on post-drought hydraulic recovery, to verify the hypothesis that embolism reversal represents a mechanistic link between carbon starvation and stem hydraulics. Measurements were performed in laurel plants subjected to similar water stress levels either over short or long term, to induce comparable embolism levels. Plants subjected to mild and prolonged water shortage (S) showed reduced growth, adjustment of turgor loss point driven by changes in both osmotic potential at full turgor and bulk modulus of elasticity, a lower content of soluble NSC and a higher content of starch with respect to control (C) plants. Moreover, S plants showed a lower ability to recover from xylem embolism than C plants, even after irrigation. Our data suggest that plant carbon status might indirectly influence plant performance during and after drought via effects on xylem hydraulic functioning, supporting the view of a possible mechanistic link between the two processes.

Effects of prolonged drought on stem non-structural carbohydrates content and post-drought hydraulic recovery in Laurus nobilis L.: The possible link between carbon starvation and hydraulic failure

Casolo, Valentino
Secondo
;
Petrussa, Elisa;Boscutti, Francesco;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Drought-induced tree decline is a complex event, and recent hypotheses suggest that hydraulic failure and carbon starvation are co-responsible for this process. We tested the possible role of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) content on post-drought hydraulic recovery, to verify the hypothesis that embolism reversal represents a mechanistic link between carbon starvation and stem hydraulics. Measurements were performed in laurel plants subjected to similar water stress levels either over short or long term, to induce comparable embolism levels. Plants subjected to mild and prolonged water shortage (S) showed reduced growth, adjustment of turgor loss point driven by changes in both osmotic potential at full turgor and bulk modulus of elasticity, a lower content of soluble NSC and a higher content of starch with respect to control (C) plants. Moreover, S plants showed a lower ability to recover from xylem embolism than C plants, even after irrigation. Our data suggest that plant carbon status might indirectly influence plant performance during and after drought via effects on xylem hydraulic functioning, supporting the view of a possible mechanistic link between the two processes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1121845
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