Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 7, Issue 3&4,2009
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Applications of xerophytophysiology in plant production – Partial root drying improves tomato crops


H.L. Xu 1, F.F. Qin 1, 2*, F.L. Du 3, Q.C. Xu 1, R. Wang 4, R.P. Shah 1, A.H. Zhao 5, F.M. Li 6

Recieved Date: 2009-06-12, Accepted Date: 2009-09-28


As one of the application practices of xerophytophysiology in plant production, partial root drying (PRD) is adopted as an irrigation technique, where half of the root zone is irrigated while the other half is allowed to dry out, and then the previously well-watered side of the root system is allowed to dry down while the previously dried side is fully irrigated. However, the physiological mechanisms are not clear enough. As confirmed in the present research, PRD not only induced osmotic adjustment, whereby the leaf turgor potential maintained higher than usual, but also strengthened the tomato plant resistance to leaf blights. The pressure-volume (P-V) curve analysis showed that the osmotic potential in symplasm at fully turgid status was lower and consequently the leaf turgor potential was higher in tomato leaves of PRD-treated plants than in the control plants. Leaf symplastic water fraction was larger in tomato leaves of PRD-treated plants. Both osmotic potential and relative water content at the point of incipient plasmolysis were lower, suggesting a higher stress resistance, in tomato leaves in PRD treatment. Analyses of photosynthetic hysteresis and stomatal declining curves showed that there were less constraints in photosynthetic mechanisms in PRD tomato leaves, where the transpiration through the leaf epicuticular layer was also smaller, suggesting the leaf surface was more protective from water loss and pathogen infections. As consequences, the PRD-treated tomato plants not only showed higher photosynthetic activity and yielded more and better fruit, but also were less infected by leaf blights. It is concluded that PRD is an acceptable technique to produce stronger crops for disease resistance and yield improvement in crop production.


Cuticular, disease, hysteresis, osmotic adjustment, partial root drying (PRD), photosynthesis, pressure-volume (P-V) curve, tomato, stomata, transpiration declining curve, water stress, xerophytophysiology

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2009
Volume: 7
Issue: 3&4
Category: Environment
Pages: 981-988

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