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Different sensitivity of isoprene emission, respiration and photosynthesis to high growth temperature coupled with drought stress in black poplar (Populus nigra) saplings.

  • Centritto, Mauro
  • Brilli, Federico
  • Fodale, Roberta
  • Loreto, Francesco
Published Article
Tree Physiology
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2011
DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpq112
PMID: 21367745


The effects of the interaction between high growth temperatures and water stress on gas-exchange properties of Populus nigra saplings were investigated. Water stress was expressed as a function of soil water content (SWC) or fraction of transpirable soil water (FTSW). Isoprene emission and photosynthesis (A) did not acclimate in response to elevated temperature, whereas dark (R(n)) and light (R(d)) respiration underwent thermal acclimation. R(d) was ~30% lower than R(n) irrespective of growth temperature and water stress level. Water stress induced a sharp decline, but not a complete inhibition, of both R(n) and R(d). There was no significant effect of high growth temperature on the responses of A, stomatal conductance (g(s)), isoprene emission, R(n) or R(d) to FTSW. High growth temperature resulted in a significant increase in the SWC endpoint. Photosynthesis was limited mainly by CO(2) acquisition in water-stressed plants. Impaired carbon metabolism became apparent only at the FTSW endpoint. Photosynthesis was restored in about a week following rewatering, indicating transient biochemical limitations. The kinetics of isoprene emission in response to FTSW confirmed that water stress uncouples the emission of isoprene from A, isoprene emission being unaffected by decreasing g(s). The different kinetics of A, respiration and isoprene emission in response to the interaction between high temperature and water stress led to rising R(d)/A ratio and amount of carbon lost as isoprene. Since respiration and isoprene sensitivity are much lower than A sensitivity to water stress, temperature interactions with water stress may dominate poplar acclimatory capability and maintenance of carbon homeostasis under climate change scenarios. Furthermore, predicted temperature increases in arid environments may reduce the amount of soil water that can be extracted before plant gas exchange decreases, exacerbating the effects of water stress even if soil water availability is not directly affected.

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