Effects of atmospheric and soil water status on photosynthesis and growth in tomato

https://doi.org/10.17221/701/2017-PSECitation:Du Q., Zhang D., Jiao X., Song X., Li J. (2018): Effects of atmospheric and soil water status on photosynthesis and growth in tomato. Plant Soil Environ., 64: 13-19.
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The responses of tomato seedlings to different vapour pressure deficit (VPD) under low soil moisture were studied. Plants were grown in greenhouses with low and high VPD, under both well-watered and water stress conditions. Low VPD was effectively maintained below 1.5 kPa with a micro-fog system. Under well-watered conditions, low VPD resulted in reduced transpiration, but this did not affect plant water status or growth. Water stress induced leaf dehydration and inhibition of growth, but the adverse effects were significantly alleviated by a decrease in VPD. Under water stress, no difference in transpiration was observed between plants with or without the VPD regulation, but the whole-plant hydraulic conductance was higher under low VPD. Low VPD increased stomatal conductance in drought-stressed plants because it promoted stomatal development and increased stomatal aperture. Thus, stomatal limitation to photosynthesis was reduced by low VPD under water stress. The reduction in plant growth induced by water stress was moderated by low VPD, partially due to higher photosynthetic rate. These results suggest that decreasing VPD improves plant water status, which ultimately enhances photosynthesis and growth under water stress.
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