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Title

From leaf to whole-plant water use efficiency (WUE) in complex canopies: Limitations of leaf WUE as a selection target

AuthorsMedrano Gil, Hipólito ; Tomàs, Magdalena ; Flexas, Jaume; Hernández, Esther ; Roselló, Josep A.; Pou, Alicia; Escalona, José Mariano; Bota, Josefina
KeywordsInstantaneous water use efficiency
Drought
Whole plant water use efficiency
Water use
13C
Intrinsic water use efficiency
Issue DateJun-2015
PublisherElsevier
CitationCrop Journal 3(3): 220-228 (2015)
AbstractPlant water use efficiency (WUE) is becoming a key issue in semiarid areas, where crop production relies on the use of large volumes of water. Improving WUE is necessary for securing environmental sustainability of food production in these areas. Given that climate change predictions include increases in temperature and drought in semiarid regions, improving crop WUE is mandatory for global food production. WUE is commonly measured at the leaf level, because portable equipment for measuring leaf gas exchange rates facilitates the simultaneous measurement of photosynthesis and transpiration. However, when those measurements are compared with daily integrals or whole-plant estimates of WUE, the two sometimes do not agree. Scaling up from single-leaf to whole-plant WUE was tested in grapevines in different experiments by comparison of daily integrals of instantaneous water use efficiency [ratio between CO assimilation (A) and transpiration (E); A/E] with midday A/E measurements, showing a low correlation, being worse with increasing water stress. We sought to evaluate the importance of spatial and temporal variation in carbon and water balances at the leaf and plant levels. The leaf position (governing average light interception) in the canopy showed a marked effect on instantaneous and daily integrals of leaf WUE. Night transpiration and respiration rates were also evaluated, as well as respiration contributions to total carbon balance. Two main components were identified as filling the gap between leaf and whole plant WUE: the large effect of leaf position on daily carbon gain and water loss and the large flux of carbon losses by dark respiration. These results show that WUE evaluation among genotypes or treatments needs to be revised.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cj.2015.04.002
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/151607
DOI10.1016/j.cj.2015.04.002
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.cj.2015.04.002
issn: 2214-5141
Appears in Collections:(IMEDEA) Artículos
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