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A water availability gradient reveals the deficit level required to affect traits in potted juvenile Eucalyptus globulus

McKiernan, AB, Potts, BM ORCID: 0000-0001-6244-289X, Hovenden, MJ ORCID: 0000-0001-7208-9700, Brodribb, TJ ORCID: 0000-0002-4964-6107, Davies, NW ORCID: 0000-0002-9624-0935, Rodemann, T ORCID: 0000-0003-2356-1153, McAdam, SAM ORCID: 0000-0002-9625-6750 and O'Reilly-Wapstra, JM ORCID: 0000-0003-4801-4412 2017 , 'A water availability gradient reveals the deficit level required to affect traits in potted juvenile Eucalyptus globulus' , Annals of Botany, vol. 119, no. 6 , pp. 1043-1052 , doi: 10.1093/aob/mcw266.

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Abstract

Background and aims: Drought leading to soil water deficit can have severe impacts on plants. Water deficit may lead to plant water stress and affect growth and chemical traits. Plant secondary metabolite (PSM) responses to water deficit vary between compounds and studies, with inconsistent reports of changes to PSM concentrations even within a single species. This disparity may result from experimental water deficit variation among studies, and so multiple water deficit treatments are used to fully assess PSM responses in a single species.Methods: Juvenile Eucalyptus globulus were grown for 8 weeks at one of ten water deficit levels based on evapotranspiration from control plants (100 %). Treatments ranged from 90 % of control evapotranspiration (mild water deficit) to 0 % of control evapotranspiration (severe water deficit) in 10 % steps. Plant biomass, foliar abscisic acid (ABA) levels, Ψleaf, leaf C/N, selected terpenes and phenolics were quantified to assess responses to each level of water deficit relative to a control.Key Results: Withholding ≥30 % water resulted in higher foliar ABA levels and withholding ≥40 % water reduced leaf water content. Ψleaf became more negative when ≥60 % water was withheld. Plant biomass was lower when ≥80 % water was withheld, and no water for 8 weeks (0 % water) resulted in plant death. The total oil concentration was lower and C/N was higher in dead and desiccated juvenile E. globulus leaves (0 % water). Concentrations of individual phenolic and terpene compounds, along with condensed tannin and total phenolic concentrations, remained stable regardless of water deficit or plant stress level.Conclusions: These juvenile E. globulus became stressed with a moderate reduction in available water, and yet the persistent concentrations of most PSMs in highly stressed or dead plants suggests no PSM re-metabolization and continued ecological roles of foliar PSMs during drought.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:McKiernan, AB and Potts, BM and Hovenden, MJ and Brodribb, TJ and Davies, NW and Rodemann, T and McAdam, SAM and O'Reilly-Wapstra, JM
Keywords: Eucalyptus globulus, drought, water stress, secondary metabolite, PSM, terpene, phenolic, macrocarpal, abscisic acid, tannin, water potential
Journal or Publication Title: Annals of Botany
Publisher: Oxford Univ Press
ISSN: 0305-7364
DOI / ID Number: 10.1093/aob/mcw266
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 The Author

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