Leaf mechanisms involved in the response of Cydonia oblonga trees to water stress and recovery

I. Griñán, P. Rodríguez, H. Nouri, R. Wang, G. Huang, D. Morales, M. Corell, D. Pérez-López, A. Centeno, M.J. Martin-Palomo, F. Hernández, A. Torrecillas, A. Galindo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Quince tree (Cydonia oblonga Mill.) is known for bearing fruits that are rich in nutrients and health-promoting compounds while requiring low inputs of agrochemicals, and maintenance, but no information exists on the mechanisms developed at the level of leaf water relations to confront water stress and recovery. For this reason, the purpose of the present study was to identify the strategy (isohydric or anisohydric) by which quince plants cope with water stress and to further elucidate the resistance mechanisms developed in response to water stress and during recovery. In summer 2016, field-grown own rooted 17-years old quince trees (cv. BA-29) were subjected to two irrigation treatments. Control (T0) plants were drip irrigated (105% ETo) to ensure non-limiting soil water conditions, while T1 plants were irrigated at the same level as used in T0, except that irrigation was withheld for 42 days during the linear fruit growth phase, after which irrigation returned to the levels of T0 (recovery period). During the experimental period, T0 and T1 received a total of 374 and 143 mm water, respectively, including rain water. The quince trees exhibited extreme anisohydric behaviour under the experimental conditions. As water stress developed and during the recovery period, the plants exhibited high hydraulic conductivity, probably the result of resistance to cavitation. From the beginning of water stress to the time of maximum water stress, leaf turgor was maintained, possibly due to active osmotic adjustment (stress tolerance mechanism). This leaf turgor maintenance may have contributed to the high leaf conductance, and, therefore, good leaf productivity. The low quince leaf apoplastic water fraction under water stress could be considered as another drought tolerance characteristic because if the accumulation of water in the apoplasm is avoided a steeper gradient in water potential between the leaf and the soil can take place under water stress, thus favouring water absorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
JournalAgricultural water management
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2019


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Elastic adjustment
  • Leaf conductance
  • Osmotic adjustment
  • Quince
  • Water relations
  • Water stress
  • Anisohydric


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