Partitioning of a Drought-induced Root Signal within the Fragaria chiloensis Plant

in HortScience

Plants of Fragaria chiloensis cv. RCP-37 were grown with their root system split between two separate containers. Water was withheld from one container of each pair (drought side), while the other was subirrigated. Control plants were subirrigated in both containers. Over several days, a drought-side leaf exhibited reductions in stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration rate (T), while a subirrigated side leaf showed no change in either parameter. However, foliar water relations components (water, osmotic, and pressure potential) did not differ between the two leaves. The leaf on the subirrigated side exhibited gs, T, and water relations components similar to leaves on control plants. The abscisic acid (ABA) content of xylem exudate, collected from a stolon emerging from the axils of the measured leaves, was highest from the drought side and was negatively correlated to gs and T at some sampling dates. A root-derived drought stress signal, perhaps ABA, although other factors cannot be discounted, was limited within the plant to the drought side, even though water relations components indicated that water from the subirrigated side was allocated to all parts of the plant.

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