Vulnerability curves (VCs) are a useful tool to investigate the susceptibility of plants to drought-induced hydraulic failure, and several experimental techniques have been used for their measurement. The validity of the bench dehydration method coupled to hydraulic measurements, considered as a 'golden standard', has been recently questioned calling for its validation with non-destructive methods. We compared the VCs of a herbaceous crop plant (Helianthus annuus) obtained during whole-plant dehydration followed by i) hydraulic flow measurements in stem segments (classical destructive method) or by ii) in vivo micro-CT observations of stem xylem conduits in intact plants. The interpolated P50 values (xylem water potential inducing 50% loss of hydraulic conductance) were −1.74 MPa and −0.87 MPa for the hydraulic and the micro-CT VC, respectively. Interpolated P20 values were similar, while P50 and P80 were significantly different, as evidenced by non-overlapping 95% confidence intervals. Our results did not support the tension-cutting artefact, as no overestimation of vulnerability was observed when comparing the hydraulic VC to that obtained with in vivo imaging. After one scan, 25% of plants showed signs of x-ray induced damage, while three successive scans caused the formation of a circular brownish scar in all tested plants. Our results support the validity of hydraulic measurements of samples excised under tension provided standard sampling and handling protocols are followed, but also show that caution is needed when investigating vital plant processes with x-ray imaging.

Drought-induced embolism in stems of sunflower: A comparison of in vivo micro-CT observations and destructive hydraulic measurements

Savi, Tadeja
;
Miotto, Andrea;Petruzzellis, Francesco;Pacilé, Serena;Nardini, Andrea
2017

Abstract

Vulnerability curves (VCs) are a useful tool to investigate the susceptibility of plants to drought-induced hydraulic failure, and several experimental techniques have been used for their measurement. The validity of the bench dehydration method coupled to hydraulic measurements, considered as a 'golden standard', has been recently questioned calling for its validation with non-destructive methods. We compared the VCs of a herbaceous crop plant (Helianthus annuus) obtained during whole-plant dehydration followed by i) hydraulic flow measurements in stem segments (classical destructive method) or by ii) in vivo micro-CT observations of stem xylem conduits in intact plants. The interpolated P50 values (xylem water potential inducing 50% loss of hydraulic conductance) were −1.74 MPa and −0.87 MPa for the hydraulic and the micro-CT VC, respectively. Interpolated P20 values were similar, while P50 and P80 were significantly different, as evidenced by non-overlapping 95% confidence intervals. Our results did not support the tension-cutting artefact, as no overestimation of vulnerability was observed when comparing the hydraulic VC to that obtained with in vivo imaging. After one scan, 25% of plants showed signs of x-ray induced damage, while three successive scans caused the formation of a circular brownish scar in all tested plants. Our results support the validity of hydraulic measurements of samples excised under tension provided standard sampling and handling protocols are followed, but also show that caution is needed when investigating vital plant processes with x-ray imaging.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2915014
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