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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 90 No. 3, p. 375-383
    Received: May 12, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): lhajr@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu
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Soybean Leaf Water Potential Responses to Carbon Dioxide and Drought

  1. Leon H. Allen ,
  2. Raul R. Valle,
  3. James W. Jones and
  4. Pierce H. Jones
  1. U SDA-ARS, Dep. of Agron., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0965
    B otany Div., Ctr. de Pesquisas do Cacau, Div. de Botanica, Caixa Postal, 7, Itabuna, Bahia, Brazil



Rising CO2 can have direct effects on crop water relations and indirect effects on water available for growth. We studied the effects of elevated CO2 and drought on leaf water relations of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr. cv. Bragg] and considered the hypothesis of osmotic adjustment mediated by increased photosynthesis (Hypothesis 1) vs. the hypothesis of water conservation mediated by decreased stomatal conductance (Hypothesis 2) to explain improved water relations of plants growing under elevated CO2. In Exp. 1, soybean was grown at 330, 450, 660, and 800 μmol mol−1 CO2 in sunlit, closed-circulation, controlled-environment chambers under well-watered conditions. Leaf total water potential (WP), osmotic potential (OP), and turgor potential (TP) were measured at midday during V4 to R6 stages of development. In Exp. 2 (well-watered, R1-R3) and Exp. 3 (13-d drying cycle, R6 seed filling), soybean was grown at 330 and 660 μmol mol−1 CO2, and WP,OP, and TP were measured five times per day on sunlit and shaded leaves. In Exp. 3, stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration rate (TR) of leaves were also measured. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that elevated CO2 increased TP and decreased OP, but did not affect leaf WP, thus favoring Hypothesis 1. In Exp. 3, leaf WP was higher in elevated than ambient CO2. Diurnal TP was higher in elevated than ambient CO2 at the beginning of drought, and was maintained longer each day as drought progressed. At the end of drought, TP and WP was higher in elevated than ambient CO2. Elevated CO2 leaves had lower TR because of lower gs than ambient CO2 counterparts. Thus, Exp. 3 supported Hypothesis 2, that both stressed and nonstressed plants in elevated CO2 have a better water status (e.g., higher TP) than plants in ambient CO2 due to water conservation mediated by decreased gs. Remobilization of leaf nutrients during seed filling may limit the capability for osmotic adjustment. Regardless of the mechanisms, growth of plants in elevated CO2 should be less affected by drought than plants in ambient CO2.

Florida Agric. Exp. Stn. Journal Series no. R-05728. Supported in part by the U.S. Dep. of Energy, Carbon Dioxide Res. Div. Interagency Agreement no. DE-AI01-81ER60001 with the USDA-ARS.

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