Rapid responses and physiological events of leaf growth in response to water stress induced by poly ethylene glycol in maize (Zea mays L.)

M. Mahdid, T. Simonneau


To follow the rapid physiological events of the osmotic adjustment (OA) known as a mechanism adaptation of leaf growth to water stress, three-weeks old maize plants Zea mays subsp. mays were exposed to water stress by the addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 6000 to the hydroponics solution. The water deficiency caused a quick cessation of elongation rate measured on the 6th growing leaf, as a result of turgor decrease. For this period, the stomatal conductance was maintained temporarily before going down partially, while the photosynthesis continued during stress. After ~30 min. the osmotic potential (ψπ) started to decrease. Thus, the OA was quickly generated, turgor recovered, and returned to its previous level before the stress. Simultaneously, the leaf elongation rate (LER) partially recovered. The recovery of turgor was quite associated with the osmotic adjustment. In parallel, with the fast increase of the abscisic acid (ABA) in growing not transpiring leaf, with the partial opening of stomata in transpiring leaf, that makes the important connotation.

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