Sensing of tomato plant response to hypoxia in the root environment.
A severe drawback in hydroponic production systems and irrigated field cultivation arises due to the risk of hypoxia, provoked by water logging in the root environment. The effects of hypoxia become temporarily visible when plants are irreversibly damaged. For this reason, non-invasive methods are required for detecting hypoxia in good time. In five experiments, tomato plants at two stages of development were grown in containers in aerated nutrient solution. Aeration was interrupted to trigger hypoxic conditions in the root environment. Whereas young plants were able to adapt to hypoxia in the root environment and survived, mature plants wilted two days after aeration interruption and died rapidly. A decrease in leaf photosynthesis, leaf transpiration rates and efficiency of the photosystem II was observed in older plants, while leaf diffuse reflectance changed slowly. On the other hand, if young plants were able to adapt to hypoxia in the root environment and survived, no clear reduction of leaf photosynthesis and the efficiency of the photosystem II arose, although the dry matter growth was decreased by 50%. Changes in leaf colour and reflectance spectra occurred. The latter indicated changes in the profile of the carotenoids. The ratio of intensities at 550 and 455 nm in particular provided a sensitive and diagnostic parameter for hypoxia in the root zone of adapted plants which, nevertheless, displayed severe growth limitation.
Kläring, H.P.; Zude, M. 2009. Sensing of tomato plant response to hypoxia in the root environment. Scientia Horticulturae. 122, 17-25.