Solute regulation and growth by roots and shoots of water stressed maize zea mays cultivar john innes plants

Sharp, R.E.; Davies, W.J.

Planta (Heidelberg) 147(1): 43-50


ISSN/ISBN: 0032-0935
Accession: 006436652

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Potted maize seedlings were subjected to a single period of water stress. As the severity of water stress increased, measurments were made of leaf and root solute and water potentials, leaf diffusive conductance and leaf and root growth. After day 4 of the drying cycle, the rate of leaf extension and the development of leaf area were reduced. This reduction correlated well with a reduction in leaf turgor which occurred at this time. A significant accumulation of solutes in the root tips of the unwatered plants resulted in the maintenance of root turgor for the duration of the water stress treatment. Root growth of the unwatered plants was also maintained as the severity of water stress increased. A mild degree of water stress resulted in a net increase in root growth compared to the situation in well-watered plants. The significance of solute regulation and continued root growth for plants growing in drying soil is discussed.