Journal Article

Interactions of water stress and solar irradiance on the physiology and biochemistry of <i>Ligustrum vulgare</i>

L. Guidi, E. Degl'Innocenti, D. Remorini, R. Massai and M. Tattini

in Tree Physiology

Volume 28, issue 6, pages 873-883
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online June 2008 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Interactions of water stress and solar irradiance on the physiology and biochemistry of Ligustrum vulgare

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We studied the interactive effects of water stress and solar irradiance on physiological and biochemical traits in Ligustrum vulgare L., with special emphasis on antioxidant enzymes and flavonoids. Water relations, photosynthetic performance, plant growth, activities of antioxidant enzymes and of phenylalanine-ammonia-lyase, and concentrations of nonstructural carbohydrates and phenylpropanoids were measured in plants growing in 12% (shade) or 100% (sun) sunlight and supplied with 100 or 40% of daily evapotranspiration-demand over a 4-week period. The mild water stress treatment caused leaf water potential and relative water content to decline on average by −0.22 MPa and 4.5%, respectively. In response to the water stress treatment, photosynthetic rates decreased more in sun plants than in shade plants, likely because of declines in photosystem II photochemistry, apparent maximum rate of carboxylation and apparent maximum electron transport rate coupled with significant reductions in stomatal conductance. Antioxidant enzymatic activities, which were much greater in sun leaves than in shade leaves under well-watered conditions, increased (particularly the enzymatic activities associated with hydrogen peroxide removal) in response to water stress only in shade leaves. Antioxidant phenylpropanoids, particularly quercetin and luteolin derivatives, markedly increased in response to full sunlight irrespective of water treatment; however, antioxidant phenylpropanoid concentrations increased in response to water stress only in shade leaves. We suggest that: (1) assimilated carbon in sun plants was used largely to support an effective antioxidant system capable of countering water-stress-induced oxidative damage–an example of cross tolerance; and (2) in shade plants, carbon was also diverted from growth to counter oxidative damage driven by the mild water-stress treatment. Both findings are consistent with the nearly exclusive distribution of L. vulgare in well-watered, partially shaded Mediterranean areas.

Keywords: antioxidant enzymes; flavonoids; gas exchange; hydroxycinnamates; nonstructural carbohydrates; PAL; PSII photochemistry; shade

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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