Stomatal malfunctioning under low VPD conditions: induced by alterations in stomatal morphology and leaf anatomy or in the ABA signaling?

Authors

  • Sasan Aliniaeifard,

    Corresponding author
    1. Horticultural Production Chains, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Horticulture, College of Abureyhan, University of Tehran, Pakdasht, Tehran, Iran
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  • Priscila Malcolm Matamoros,

    1. Horticultural Production Chains, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Uulke van Meeteren

    1. Horticultural Production Chains, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Exposing plants to low VPD reduces leaf capacity to maintain adequate water status thereafter. To find the impact of VPD on functioning of stomata, stomatal morphology and leaf anatomy, fava bean plants were grown at low (L, 0.23 kPa) or moderate (M, 1.17 kPa) VPDs and some plants that developed their leaves at moderate VPD were then transferred for 4 days to low VPD (M→L). Part of the M→L-plants were sprayed with ABA (abscisic acid) during exposure to L. L-plants showed bigger stomata, larger pore area, thinner leaves and less spongy cells compared with M-plants. Stomatal morphology (except aperture) and leaf anatomy of the M→L-plants were almost similar to the M-plants, while their transpiration rate and stomatal conductance were identical to that of L-plants. The stomatal response to ABA was lost in L-plants, but also after 1-day exposure of M-plants to low VPD. The level of foliar ABA sharply decreased within 1-day exposure to L, while the level of ABA-GE (ABA-glucose ester) was not affected. Spraying ABA during the exposure to L prevented loss of stomatal closing response thereafter. The effect of low VPD was largely depending on exposure time: the stomatal responsiveness to ABA was lost after 1-day exposure to low VPD, while the responsiveness to desiccation was gradually lost during 4-day exposure to low VPD. Leaf anatomical and stomatal morphological alterations due to low VPD were not the main cause of loss of stomatal closure response to closing stimuli.

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