Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (6): 594-603.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0345

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of drought-rewatering-drought on photosynthesis and growth of maize

Wen-Sai ZHAO, Yong-Lin SUN, Xi-Ping LIU*()   

  1. College of Life Sciences, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
  • Received:2015-09-28 Accepted:2016-04-14 Online:2016-06-15 Published:2016-06-30
  • Contact: Xi-Ping LIU E-mail:xpliuderen@163.com

Abstract:

Aims Our objective was to investigate the responses of maize photosynthesis and growth to repeated drought.Methods Maize seedlings were exposed to different soil water deficit for three weeks, then rewatering for one week, and again to different water deficit for three weeks, to examine the effects of repeated drought on photosynthesis and growth.Important findings After the first water deficit treatments, under severe drought, plant height, total leaf area of individual plant, shoot and root biomass declined significantly, also transpiration rate (Tr), stomatal conductance (Gs), intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci), net photosynthetic rate (Pn), maximum net photosynthetic rate (Amax), but light compensation point and dark respiration rate increased significantly. Under medium drought, plant height, leaf area, and shoot biomass decreased significantly, but root biomass did not vary, hence, the ratio of roots to shoots (R/S) increased. Moreover, plants did not show significant differences in photosynthetic parameters. After rewatering, photosynthesis and growth rate of plants previously exposed to water deficit could recover to the levels of well-watered plants, but plant height and leaf area did not recover to the levels of the control. When maize were subjected to recurrent drought, plants pre-exposed to medium drought showed no significant difference in plant height, biomass, and photosynthetic parameters, but a significant decrease in leaf area, compared to plants only exposed to second medium drought. Plants pre-exposed to severe drought had significantly higher Tr, Gs, Ci, Pn, Amax, and, apparent quantum yield but significantly lower plant height, leaf area, and biomass than plants without previous exposure. These results indicated that the first severe drought significantly reduced photosynthetic capacity and maize growth, rewatering could recover photosynthesis and growth rate to the levels of well-watered plants, but could not eliminate the adverse influence of the first drought on growth. The first medium drought could stimulate the growth of maize root system and significantly increased R/S, which can enhance maize drought resistance to subsequent repeated drought, and maintain the total biomass in the control level; the first severe drought could enhance maize drought resistance to subsequent repeated drought in the aspect of photosynthesis, but could not compensate for the adverse effect of early drought on plant growth. Hence, in practice, drought hardening should be limited in the level of medium drought, and avoiding severe drought.

Key words: repeated drought, rewatering, growth, photosynthetic rate, Zea mays

Table 1

Experimental treatments"

处理 Treatment 土壤含水量 (田间持水量的%)
Soil water content (field water capacity %)
第一次水分处理(3周)
First water treatments (3 weeks)
复水(1周)
Rewatering (1 week)
第二次水分处理(3周)
Second water treatments (3 weeks)
持续正常水分 Continually well-watered 70 70 70
单一后期中度干旱 Single late medium drought 70 50
单一后期重度干旱 Single late severe drought 70 35
单一早期中度干旱 Single early medium drought 50 70
两次中度水分亏缺 Double medium drought 50 50
单一早期重度干旱 Single early severe drought 35 70
两次重度干旱 Double severe drought 35 35

Fig. 1

Effects of first water treatments on diurnal variations of transpiration rate (Tr) (A), stomatal conductance (Gs) (B), intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) (C), and net photosynthetic rate (Pn) (D) of maize leaves (mean ± SD)."

Fig. 2

Effects of rewatering on diurnal variations of transpiration rate (Tr) (A), stomatal conductance (Gs) (B), intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) (C), and net photosynthetic rate (Pn) (D) of maize leaves (mean ± SD)."

Fig. 3

Effects of the second water treatments on diurnal variations of transpiration rate (Tr) (A, B), stomatal conductance (Gs) (C, D), intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) (E, F), and net photosynthetic rate (Pn) (G, H) of maize leaves (mean ± SD)."

Fig. 4

Effects of drought-rewatering-drought treatments on response curves of net photosynthetic rate (Pn) to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) in maize leaves."

Table 2

Effects of drought-rewatering-drought treatments on characteristic parameters of the response curves of net photosynthetic rate (Pn) to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) in maize leaves (mean ± SD)"

处理
Treatment
最大净光合速率
Amax
(μmol·m-2·s-1)
光补偿点
LCP
(μmol·m-2·s-1)
光饱和点
LSP
(μmol·m-2·s-1)
暗呼吸速率
Rd
(μmol·m-2·s-1)
表观量子效率
AQY
(μmol·m-2·s-1)
第一次水分处理 First water treatment
70% 41.39 ± 0.88b 53.97 ± 15.17a 892.50 ± 74.93a 2.58 ± 0.20a 0.050 ± 0.002ab
50% 41.01 ± 3.54b 50.87 ± 6.60a 832.98 ± 65.23a 2.48 ± 0.68a 0.051 ± 0.005b
35% 33.43 ± 3.57a 95.09 ± 8.79b 906.90 ± 66.14a 3.92 ± 0.17b 0.044 ± 0.002a
复水 Rewatering
70%-70% 37.79 ± 4.55a 52.95 ± 7.99a 770.05 ± 95.33a 2.30 ± 0.41a 0.047 ± 0.002a
50%-70% 39.82 ± 4.64a 53.96 ± 3.16a 859.91 ± 104.84a 1.88 ± 0.38a 0.045 ± 0.003a
35%-70% 37.88 ± 5.05a 46.89 ± 1.32a 796.46 ± 97.11a 1.99 ± 0.33a 0.046 ± 0.004a
第二次水分处理 Second water treatments
70%-70%-70% 39.95 ± 2.03c 57.46 ± 13.82ab 893.05 ± 75.07ab 2.78 ± 0.84a 0.050 ± 0.003c
70%-70%-50% 35.11 ± 2.31b 61.78 ± 13.99ab 780.32 ± 37.03a 2.87 ± 0.99a 0.048 ± 0.005bc
70%-70%-35% 26.00 ± 0.95a 76.51 ± 14.81b 752.90 ± 105.37a 2.63 ± 0.32a 0.035 ± 0.004a
50%-70%-70% 39.64 ± 2.31c 77.17 ± 13.24b 972.55 ± 118.34b 3.50 ± 0.63a 0.048 ± 0.003bc
50%-70%-50% 37.56 ± 1.68bc 71.32 ± 11.07ab 815.10 ± 50.04ab 3.43 ± 0.65a 0.049 ± 0.001bc
35%-70%-70% 40.05 ± 0.76c 57.89 ± 0.31ab 901.57 ± 40.73ab 2.36 ± 0.36a 0.043 ± 0.006b
35%-70%-35% 36.65 ± 2.94bc 52.57 ± 8.62a 789.16 ± 143.48a 2.75 ± 0.32a 0.051 ± 0.004c

Fig. 5

Effects of drought-rewatering-drought treatments on plant height and plant height growth rate of maize."

Fig. 6

Effects of drought-rewatering-drought on leaf area and leaf area growth rate of maize (mean ± SD)."

Table 3

Effects of drought-rewatering-drought treatments on biomass and the biomass ratio of roots to shoots (R/S) of maize"

处理
Treatment
叶生物量
Leaf biomass (g)
茎生物量
Stem biomass (g)
地上生物量
shoot biomass (g)
根生物量
Root biomass (g)
总生物量
Total biomass (g)
根冠比
R/S
第一次水分处理 First water treatment
70% 253.34 ± 16.50c 111.20 ± 12.52b 364.54 ± 18.99c 0.44 ± 0.06a
50% 209.77 ± 14.07b 123.49 ± 10.74b 333.26 ± 19.27b 0.59 ± 0.06b
35% 90.82 ± 10.60a 64.54 ± 7.86a 155.36 ± 11.55a 0.72 ± 0.12c
复水 Rewatering
70%-70% 177.17 ± 25.79c 174.85 ± 24.40b 352.02 ± 29.21c 152.59 ± 12.50b 504.61 ± 30.64b 0.44 ± 0.05a
50%-70% 153.38 ± 15.13ab 151.99 ± 18.66b 305.37 ± 29.01b 166.48 ± 37.16b 471.85 ± 54.59b 0.55 ± 0.11b
35%-70% 129.60 ± 17.12a 107.87 ± 19.35a 237.47 ± 35.37a 118.29 ± 19.39a 355.76 ± 53.00a 0.50 ± 0.04ab
第二次水分处理 Second water treatment
70%-70%-70% 142.95 ± 11.65c 203.18 ± 15.34e 507.35 ± 27.30d 197.00 ± 32.49cd 704.35 ± 54.61d 0.39 ± 0.05ab
70%-70%-50% 142.20 ± 18.01c 181.23 ± 15.60de 489.61 ± 40.08cd 198.33 ± 51.18cd 687.94 ± 77.92cd 0.40 ± 0.10abc
70%-70%-35% 118.22 ± 14.38b 150.15 ± 15.31bc 411.69 ± 18.36b 145.00 ± 24.81ab 556.69 ± 36.71b 0.35 ± 0.06a
50%-70%-70% 133.64 ± 19.17bc 153.49 ± 32.45bc 451.88 ± 60.75bc 216.67 ± 31.94d 668.55 ± 92.09cd 0.48 ± 0.02c
50%-70%-50% 135.52 ± 12.93bc 172.16 ± 13.04cd 481.55 ± 26.55cd 224.00 ± 47.68d 705.55 ± 70.53d 0.46 ± 0.08bc
35%-70%-70% 121.74 ± 11.67bc 132.39 ± 26.05b 439.08 ± 65.20bc 167.00 ± 30.48bc 606.08 ± 91.72bc 0.38 ± 0.04ab
35%-70%-35% 82.87 ± 32.27a 97.20 ± 18.51a 291.04 ± 43.45a 118.00 ± 30.98a 409.04 ± 70.32a 0.40 ± 0.07abc
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