• Irrigation;
  • microclimate;
  • oscillations;
  • patch clamp pressure;
  • pressure probes;
  • turgor pressure


Turgor pressure provides a sensitive indicator for irrigation scheduling. Leaf turgor pressure of Musa acuminate was measured by using the so-called leaf patch clamp pressure probe, i.e. by application of an external, magnetically generated and constantly retained clamp pressure to a leaf patch and determination of the attenuated output pressure Pp that is highly correlated with the turgor pressure. Real-time recording of Pp values was made using wireless telemetric transmitters, which send the data to a receiver base station where data are logged and transferred to a GPRS modem linked to an Internet server. Probes functioned over several months under field and laboratory conditions without damage to the leaf patch. Measurements showed that the magnetic-based probe could monitor very sensitively changes in turgor pressure induced by changes in microclimate (temperature, relative humidity, irradiation and wind) and irrigation. Irrigation effects could clearly be distinguished from environmental effects. Interestingly, oscillations in stomatal aperture, which occurred frequently below turgor pressures of 100 kPa towards noon at high transpiration or at high wind speed, were reflected in the Pp values. The period of pressure oscillations was comparable with the period of oscillations in transpiration and photosynthesis. Multiple probe readings on individual leaves and/or on several leaves over the entire height of the plants further emphasised the great impact of this non-invasive turgor pressure sensor system for elucidating the dynamics of short- and long-distance water transport in higher plants.