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Water Relations of Cotton Plants under Nitrogen Deficiency: II. Environmental Interactions on Stomata

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Abstract

Nitrogen deficiency in cotton plants (Gossypium hirsutum L.) considerably increased the sensitivity of stomata to water stress. At air temperatures of 27, 35, and ≥40 C, threshold potentials for complete stomatal closure were −10, −15, and −26 bars in N-deficient plants and −20, −20, and −30 bars in high-N plants, respectively. This three-way interaction among N supply, water potential, and air temperature was similar to that exerted on leaf expansion. The effects of N supply on stomatal behavior could not be explained on the basis of either osmotic or structural considerations. Rather, effects of N deficiency on mesophyll and stomata were independent and divergent. Stomatal behavior may impart a stress avoidance type of drought resistance to N-deficient plants.

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