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  • Author or Editor: José Dalton Cruz Pessoa x
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A portable wiltmeter instrument to estimate leaf turgor pressure according to an adaptation of the flattening method was developed. In the instrument, a flexible inflating membrane presses the leaf against a flattening plate having small orifices surrounded by a finely engraved network of obtuse indentations through which air flow is delivered. During a measurement, as the compression builds up, the leaf is progressively molded against the flattening plate, and as a consequence, the air flow (x) crossing the plate is reduced toward zero. The smallest leaf compression (p0 ) that blocks the air passage is an estimate of the leaf turgor. Wiltmeter measurements were compared with pressure probe measurements of cell turgor pressure in detached leaves of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. Acephala), and chicory (Chichorium endivia L.), which were allowed to suffer diverse levels of wilting caused by transpiration. Such observed wiltmeter readings were a little lower than the cell turgor pressure measured with a pressure probe; the regression coefficients between these methods were: 1.156 for lettuce, 1.13 for kale, and 1.036 for chicory. This portable quantitative procedure to measure leaf firmness has potentially valuable applications related to postharvest and field plant physiology studies.

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