New technique enables assessment of drought performance

November 12, 2008

Measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence is an effective way of determining how well plants can cope with low-water conditions. The technique described in the open access journal Plant Methods, published by BioMed Central, allows a quantitative and precise determination of viability in intact, drought-stressed plants.

Due to the increasing demands of industrial, municipal and agricultural consumption on dwindling water supplies, botanists are increasingly engaged in efforts to cultivate plants that have low water requirements. Barry Pogson led a team of researchers from the Australian National University who investigated whether chlorophyll fluorescence could be used in the assessment of plant water status during such studies. He said "We found that plants' viability during increasing water deficit could be measured and quantified by measuring changes to the maximum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), and that this was easily measurable by chlorophyll fluorometry."

Other methods of assessing plants' performance under water deficit have serious drawbacks. Methods that involve detaching parts of the plant are destructive and survival studies rely on qualitative observation of physical symptoms of water deficit stress such as turgor loss, chlorosis, and other qualities that can vary greatly between specimens and are also sensitive to experimental conditions. Chlorophyll fluorescence is non-invasive and minimal technical expertise and a basic understanding of fluorometry. Pogson said "By correlating the decline in the Fv/Fm parameter to loss of viability, our procedure allows the monitoring of survival under water deficit conditions, namely defining a threshold of 33% of well-watered Fv/Fm values."

This procedure may complement existing methods of evaluating drought performance while also increasing the number of tools available for assessment of other plant stresses.

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Regulating poinsettia's height

Related Stories

Regulating poinsettia's height

April 6, 2015

The height and size of ornamental plants such as poinsettia are important concerns for producers. Plant height is crucial both aesthetically and in regards to postharvest handling. To produce plants that meet desired heights, ...

UM researcher helps NASA get the dirt on soil moisture

January 15, 2015

During the early-morning hours on Tuesday, Jan. 29, NASA will launch a satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth's soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our ecosystems weather and climate.

Toward a networked energy future

October 29, 2014

February 1, 2050, is a good day for German electricity consumers. The breeze off the north coast is blowing so strongly that offshore wind farms and the wind turbines on land are running non-stop. Since it's a sunny day, ...

Quick test finds signs of diarrheal disease

February 6, 2014

Bioengineers at Rice University and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston have developed a simple, highly sensitive and efficient test for the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis that could have great ...

Recommended for you

Magnetism at nanoscale

August 3, 2015

As the demand grows for ever smaller, smarter electronics, so does the demand for understanding materials' behavior at ever smaller scales. Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are building a unique ...

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Study calculates the speed of ice formation

August 3, 2015

Researchers at Princeton University have for the first time directly calculated the rate at which water crystallizes into ice in a realistic computer model of water molecules. The simulations, which were carried out on supercomputers, ...

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips

August 3, 2015

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a new way to switch the polarization of nanomagnets, paving the way for high-density storage to move from hard disks onto integrated circuits.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.