Cytokinins in the xylem sap of desert-grown almond (Prunus dulcis) trees: Daily courses and their possible interactions with abscisic acid and leaf conductance


  • Prumus dulcis (Miller) D. A. Webb.

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Xylem sap samples were obtained from one- to four-year-old almond trees [Prunus dulcis (Miller) D. A. Webb] that had been grown in lysimeters of different volumes with different amounts of available water and subjected to an annual drying cycle. The samples were analyzed for cytokinin patterns by ELISA during the growing season. Free bases, ribosides and nucleotides of the N6-(Δ2-isopentenyl) adenine (iP) and the zeatin (Z) type could be identified and quantified. Z-type cytokinins were always predominant. In many cases the concentrations of the cytokinin fractions were rather constant during the day. In a limited number of days, however, Z-type cytokinins showed peak concentrations in the morning and a rapid decrease in the afternoon. A correlation between water status of the trees and the concentrations of cytokinins or their daily variations in the xylem sap could not be established. When the concentration of abscisic acid in the xylem sap was not limiting leaf conductance, daily-variation of a cytokinin fraction preceded daily variation in leaf conductance. We conclude that in almond trees, cytokinins may affect stomatal behaviour on a short-term basis. This is an outcome of changes in their xylem sap concentrations during the course of a day. Abscisic acid, on the other hand, acts as an opposing signal, the size of which reflects long-term water deficit.