Journal Article

Field measurements of xylem cavitation: are acoustic emissions useful?

G.E. Jackson and J. Grace

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 47, issue 11, pages 1643-1650
Published in print November 1996 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online November 1996 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/47.11.1643
Field measurements of xylem cavitation: are acoustic emissions useful?

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Cavitation of water columns within the xylem is deleterious for plant water relations as it results in embolism, so reducing hydraulic conductivity. This cavitation can be detected as it is accompanied by the production of acoustic emissions, which can be detected ultrasonically and logged automatically over periods of days. The acoustic emission technique is useful to determine the threshold water potential at which damage to the water-conducting system of the plant is initiated. It can reveal which environmental variables are deleterious to the plant water relations, and which parts of the plant are most sensitive to cavitation. Species comparisons, and comparisons of the same species in different environments can be made, to obtain indications of drought tolerance. However, acoustic emissions have only a limited use in determining the proportion of embolism in a conducting stem, and other methods are needed to find the percentage reduction in hydraulic conductivity.

Keywords: Embolism; hydraulic conductivity; draught stress; vulnerability curves

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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