Resistance to water transport in shoots of Vitis vinifera L.

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Plant Physiology


Apparent resistances to water transport in the liquid phase were determined from measurements of soil, root, basal shoot internode, shoot apex, and leaf water potentials and water flux in Vitis vinifera (cv White Riesling) during soil drying. Predawn water potential differences (ΔΨ) in the shoots accounted for 20% of the total ΔΨ between the soil and the shoot apex when plants were well-watered but increased to about 90% when shoot growth ceased. The ΔΨ from soil to root was essentially constant during this period. At low water potential, the ΔΨ in the shoot was persistent when transpiration was low (predawn) or completely prevented (plant bagging). The apparent hydraulic resistance between the basal shoot internode and most rapidly expanding leaf (or shoot apex) increased several-fold when water was withheld. Leaf and internode expansion both exhibited high sensitivity to increasing hydraulic resistance. Measurements of pneumatic resistance to air flow through frozen internode segments indicated progressive vapor-filling of vessels as soil drying progressed. From these observations and others in the literature, it was suggested that embolization may be a common occurrence and play an important role in the inhibition of shoot growth at moderate water deficits.