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Keywords:

  • night-time stomatal conductance;
  • night-time transpiration;
  • stomatal conductance

ABSTRACT

Night-time stomatal opening in C3 plants may result in significant water loss when no carbon gain is possible. The objective of this study was to determine if endogenous patterns of night-time stomatal opening, as reflected in leaf conductance, in Vicia faba are affected by photosynthetic conditions the previous day. Reducing photosynthesis with low light or low CO2 resulted in reduced night-time stomatal opening the following night, irrespective of the effects on daytime stomatal conductance. Likewise, increasing photosynthesis with enriched CO2 levels resulted in increased night-time stomatal opening the following night. Reduced night-time stomatal opening was not the result of an inability to regulate stomatal aperture as leaves with reduced night-time stomatal opening were capable of greater night-time opening when exposed to low CO2. After acclimating plants to long or short days, it was found that night-time leaf conductance was greater in plants acclimated to short days, and associated with greater leaf starch and nitrate accumulation, both of which may affect night-time guard cell osmotic potential. Direct measurement of guard cell contents during endogenous night-time stomatal opening will help identify the mechanism of the effect of daytime photosynthesis on subsequent night-time stomatal regulation.