Water is transported from roots to foliage through the xylem under negative pressure (= tension). Under this metastable status, water is prone to sudden phase change to water vapor (cavitation). In plants, air can also be aspirated into functioning xylem conduits through inter-conduit pit membranes, and the resulting embolism blocks water transport through the conduit and reduces plant hydraulic conductance and productivity. Xylem embolism and hydraulic failure are major factors contributing to tree mortality and forest decline under global-change-type droughts. However, some plants can tolerate even high embolism levels under drought, recovering hydraulic functionality upon partial or total rehydration via embolism repair and xylem refilling. Here, we review current evidence of embolism repair, highlighting possible physiological mechanisms and suggesting some functional and anatomical determinants making embolism reversal a feasible and successful drought resilience mechanism in some plants.

Drought Stress and the Recovery from Xylem Embolism in Woody Plants

Nardini, Andrea
;
Savi, Tadeja;
2018-01-01

Abstract

Water is transported from roots to foliage through the xylem under negative pressure (= tension). Under this metastable status, water is prone to sudden phase change to water vapor (cavitation). In plants, air can also be aspirated into functioning xylem conduits through inter-conduit pit membranes, and the resulting embolism blocks water transport through the conduit and reduces plant hydraulic conductance and productivity. Xylem embolism and hydraulic failure are major factors contributing to tree mortality and forest decline under global-change-type droughts. However, some plants can tolerate even high embolism levels under drought, recovering hydraulic functionality upon partial or total rehydration via embolism repair and xylem refilling. Here, we review current evidence of embolism repair, highlighting possible physiological mechanisms and suggesting some functional and anatomical determinants making embolism reversal a feasible and successful drought resilience mechanism in some plants.
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https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/124_2017_11
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2916696
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