Effects of root medium pH on water transport in paper birch (Betula papyrifera) seedlings in relation to root temperature and abscisic acid treatments.

Department of Renewable Resources, 4-42 Earth Sciences Bldg., University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada.
Tree Physiology (Impact Factor: 2.85). 11/2004; 24(10):1173-80.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We investigated the effects of root medium pH on water transport in whole-plant and detached roots of paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.). Exposure of seedling roots to pH 4 and 8 significantly decreased root hydraulic conductivity (Lp) and stomatal conductance (gs), compared with pH 6. When roots of solution-culture-grown (pH 6) seedlings were transferred to pH 4 or 8, their steady-state water flow (Qv) declined within minutes, followed by a decline in gs. The root oxygen uptake rates were not significantly affected by the pH treatments. Treatment of roots with mercuric chloride resulted in a large decrease in Qv at pH 6; the extent of this decrease was similar to that brought about by pH 4 and 8. Lowering root temperature from 21 to 4 degrees C decreased Qv irrespective of medium pH. Low root temperatures did not offset the effects of medium pH 4 on Qv and the roots in this treatment had a high activation energy for water flow. Conversely, roots exposed to pH 8 had a low activation energy, similar to that at pH 6. When 2 micro M abscisic acid, (+/-)-cis-trans-ABA, was added to the root medium, Qv increased in roots that were incubated at pH 6. It also increased slightly in roots incubated at pH 4, but not at pH 8. The increase at pH 4 and 6 was temperature-dependent, occurring at 21 degrees C, but not 4 degrees C. We suggest that the pH treatments are responsible for altering root water flow properties through their effects on the activity of water channels. These results support the concept that ABA effects on water channels are modulated by other, possibly metabolic- and pH-dependent factors.

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