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Peach water relations, gas exchange, growth and shoot mortality under water deficit in semi-arid weather conditions

Abstract : In this study the sensitivity of peach tree (Prunus persica L.) to three water stress levels from mid-pit hardening until harvest was assessed. Seasonal patterns of shoot and fruit growth, gas exchange (leaf photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and transpiration) as well as carbon (C) storage/mobilization were evaluated in relation to plant water status. A simple C balance model was also developed to investigate sink-source relationship in relation to plant water status at the tree level. The C source was estimated through the leaf area dynamics and leaf photosynthesis rate along the season. The C sink was estimated for maintenance respiration and growth of shoots and fruits. Water stress significantly reduced gas exchange, and fruit, and shoot growth, but increased fruit dry matter concentration. Growth was more affected by water deficit than photosynthesis, and shoot growth was more sensitive to water deficit than fruit growth. Reduction of shoot growth was associated with a decrease of shoot elongation, emergence, and high shoot mortality. Water scarcity affected tree C assimilation due to two interacting factors: (i) reduction in leaf photosynthesis (-23% and -50% under moderate (MS) and severe (SS) water stress compared to low (LS) stress during growth season) and (ii) reduction in total leaf area (-57% and -79% under MS and SS compared to LS at harvest). Our field data analysis suggested Psi(stem) threshold of -1.5 MPa below which daily net C gain became negative, i.e. C assimilation became lower than C needed for respiration and growth. Negative C balance under MS and SS associated with decline of trunk carbohydrate reserves -may have led to drought-induced vegetative mortality.
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Mitra Rahmati, Gholam Hossein Davarynejad, Michel Génard, Mohammad Bannayan, Majid Azizi, et al.. Peach water relations, gas exchange, growth and shoot mortality under water deficit in semi-arid weather conditions. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (4), ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0120246⟩. ⟨hal-02635190⟩

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