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Temperature interactions with transpiration response to vapor pressure deficit among cultivated and wild soybean genotypes



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A key strategy in soybean drought research is increased stomatal sensitivity to high vapor pressure deficit (VPD), which contributes to the ‘slow wilting’ trait observed in the field. These experiments examined whether temperature of the growth environment affected the ability of plants to respond to VPD, and thus control transpiration rate (TR). Two soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] and four wild soybean [Glycine soja (Sieb. and Zucc.)] genotypes were studied. The TR was measured over a range of VPD when plants were growing at 25 or 30°C, and again after an abrupt increase of 5°C. In G. max, a restriction of TR became evident as VPD increased above 2.0 kPa when temperature was near its growth optimum of 30°C. ‘Slow wilting’ genotype plant introduction (PI) 416937 exhibited greater TR control at high VPD compared with Hutcheson, and only PI 416937 restrained TR after the shift to 35°C. Three of the four G. soja genotypes exhibited control over TR with increasing VPD when grown at 25°C, which is near their estimated growth optimum. The TR control became engaged at lower VPD than in G. max and was retained to differing degrees after a shift to 30°C. The TR control systems in G. max and G. soja clearly were temperature-sensitive and kinetically definable, and more restrictive in the ‘slow wilting’ soybean genotype. For the favorable TR control traits observed in G. soja to be useful for soybean breeding in warmer climates, the regulatory linkage with lower temperatures must be uncoupled.