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Responses of soybean leaf angle photosynthesis and stomatal conductance to leaf and soil water potential



Responses of soybean leaf angle photosynthesis and stomatal conductance to leaf and soil water potential



Annals of Botany (London) 67(1): 51-58



The hypothesis that soil water potential (.psi.s) is better correlated to heliotropic leaf orientation, photosaturated photosynthetic CO2 assimilation and stomatal conductance during periods of limited water availability than is bulk leaf water potential (.psi.l) was examined in greenhouse-grown soybean (Glycine max) plants, submitted to a progressive drought. Paired plants were exposed to either 1000 or 100 .mu.mol m-2 s-1 photon flux densities (PFD) for 45-60 mins. The higher irradiance induced short-term decreases in .psi.1 due to increased transpiration, while .psi.l in the plant exposed to low PFD did not decrease. These changes in .psi.l occurred independently of changes in soil water status. Concurrent to the light treatments, a single attached leaf from each of the two plants was isolated from the rest of the plant by shading and the pulvinus of its terminal leaflet was exposed to a perpendicular PFD of 500 .mu.mol m-2 s-1. Leaf movement of this leaflet was recorded in response to this light, until a stable leaflet angle was achieved. Values of .psi.s and .psi.l (before and after light treatment), and photosaturated rates of photosynthesis and stomatal conductance, were then measured on these leaves. Leaflet angle and gas exchange were better correlated with .psi.s (r2 = 0.50, 0.50 and 0.57 for angle, photosynthesis and conductance, respectively) than with .psi.l, especially when .psi.l was the result of short-term, high-light induced changes in leaf water status (r2 = 0.36, 0.32 and 0.49, for the same parameters). Leaflet angle was also correlated with stomatal conductance (r2 = 0.61) and photosynthetic rate (r2 = 0.60), suggesting a close association between leaf orientation, leaf metabolism and soil water availability.

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