Ecophysiological performance of Vitis rootstocks under water stress

The use of rootstocks tolerant to soil water deficit is an interesting strategy to cope with limited water availability. Currently, several nurseries are breeding new genotypes, but the physiological basis of its responses under water stress are largely unknown. To this end, an ecophysiological assessment of the conventional 110-Richter (110R) and SO4, and the new M1 and M4 rootstocks was carried out in potted ungrafted plants. During one season, these Vitis genotypes were grown under greenhouse conditions and subjected to two water regimes, well-watered and water deficit. Water potentials of plants under water deficit down to < -1.4 MPa, and net photosynthesis (AN) <5 μmol m-2 s-1 did not cause leaf oxidative stress damage compared to well-watered conditions in any of the genotypes. The antioxidant capacity was sufficient to neutralize the mild oxidative stress suffered. Under both treatments, gravimetric differences in daily water use were observed among genotypes, leading to differences in the biomass of root, shoot and leaf. Under well-watered conditions, SO4 and 110R were the most vigorous and M1 and M4 the least. However, under water stress, SO4 exhibited the greatest reduction in biomass while M4 showed the lowest. Remarkably, under these conditions, SO4 reached the least negative stem water potential (Ψstem), while M1 reduced stomatal conductance (gs) and AN the most. In addition, SO4 and M1 genotypes also showed the highest and lowest hydraulic conductance values, respectively. Our results suggest that there are differences in water use regulation among genotypes, not only attributed to differences in stomatal regulation or intrinsic water use efficiency at the leaf level. Therefore, because no differences in canopy-to-root ratio were achieved, it is hypothesized that xylem vessel anatomical differences may be driving the reported differences among rootstocks performance. Results demonstrate that each Vitis rootstock differs in its ecophysiological responses under water stress.

Authors: Eva P. Pérez-Álvarez1,2, Diego S. Intrigliolo3, Alejandro Martínez-Moreno1, Francisco García-Sánchez1, Jose M. Escalona4,5 and Ignacio Buesa1,4

1Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC), Murcia, Spain
2Grupo VIENAP, Instituto de Ciencias de la Vid y del Vino (CSIC, Universidad de La Rioja, Gobierno de La Rioja), Logroño, Spain
3Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Desertification Research Center (CSIC-UV-GV), Ecology Department, Valencia, Spain
4Universidad de las Islas Baleares (UIB), Departamento de Biología, Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain
5Agro-Environmental and Water Economics Institute-University of Balearic Islands (INAGEA-UIB), Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain


Keywords: antioxidant metabolism, biomass, chlorophyll fluorescence, hydraulic conductance, water use efficiency 

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