Effect of potassium on the water potential, the pressure potential, the osmotic potential and cell elongation in leaves of Phaseolus vulgaris



The effect of potassium on the water potential, the osmotic potential and the pressure potential in younger and older leaves of Phaseolus vulgaris grown in hydroponic culture was studied. Inadequate potassium supply resulted in an increase of the osmotic potential. In the older leaves the water potential was raised, in the younger leaves the pressure potential was depressed in the treatment insufficiently supplied with potassium as compared with leaves with an adequate potassium supply. Cell size of the younger leaves was smaller in the treatment with the low K+ supply in comparison with the leaves well supplied with K+. Potassium had a beneficial effect on plant growth, especially on fresh matter production. The water status of leaves (water content, pressure potential, osmotic potential) responded more sensitively to potassium supply than dry matter production. Besides organic N and organic anions, K+ was the most abundant solute found in the press sap of the leaves. From the results it is concluded that K+ is indispensible for attaining an optimum potential (turgor) in young leaves which in turn has an impact on plant growth.