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Keywords:

  • cavitation;
  • centrifuge;
  • embolism;
  • grapevine (Vitis vinifera);
  • vulnerability curve;
  • water relations;
  • xylem

Summary

  • Vulnerability to cavitation curves are used to estimate xylem cavitation resistance and can be constructed using multiple techniques. It was recently suggested that a technique that relies on centrifugal force to generate negative xylem pressures may be susceptible to an open vessel artifact in long-vesselled species.
  • Here, we used custom centrifuge rotors to measure different sample lengths of 1-yr-old stems of grapevine to examine the influence of open vessels on vulnerability curves, thus testing the hypothesized open vessel artifact. These curves were compared with a dehydration-based vulnerability curve.
  • Although samples differed significantly in the number of open vessels, there was no difference in the vulnerability to cavitation measured on 0.14- and 0.271-m-long samples of Vitis vinifera. Dehydration and centrifuge-based curves showed a similar pattern of declining xylem-specific hydraulic conductivity (Ks) with declining water potential. The percentage loss in hydraulic conductivity (PLC) differed between dehydration and centrifuge curves and it was determined that grapevine is susceptible to errors in estimating maximum Ks during dehydration because of the development of vessel blockages.
  • Our results from a long-vesselled liana do not support the open vessel artifact hypothesis.