Water Transfer in an Alfalfa/Maize Association Survival of Maize during Drought

Water Transfer in an Alfalfa/Maize Association Survival of Maize during Drought Steven J. Corak 2 , Dale G. Blevins and Stephen G. Pallardy Department of Agronomy, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211 School of Fisheries, Forestry and Wildlife, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211 Abstract We investigated the possibility of interspecific water transfer in an alfalfa ( Medicago sativa L.) and maize ( Zea mays L.) association. An alfalfa plant was grown through two vertically stacked plastic tubes. A 5 centimeter air gap between tubes was bridged by alfalfa roots. Five-week old maize plants with roots confined to the top tube were not watered, while associated alfalfa roots had free access to water in the bottom tube (the −/+ treatment). Additional treatments included: top and bottom tubes watered (+/+), top and bottom tubes droughted (−/−), and top tube droughted after removal of alfalfa root bridges and routine removal of alfalfa tillers (− * ). Predawn leaf water potential of maize in the −/+ treatment fell to −1.5 megapascals 13 days after the start of drought; thereafter, predawn and midday potentials were maintained near −1.9 megapascals. Leaf water potentials of maize in the −/− and − * treatments declined steadily; all plants in these treatments were completely desiccated before day 50. High levels of tritium activity were detected in water extracted from both alfalfa and maize leaves after 3 H 2 O was injected into the bottom −/+ tube at day 70 or later. Maize in the −/+ treatment was able to survive an otherwise lethal period of drought by utilizing water lost by alfalfa roots. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

Water Transfer in an Alfalfa/Maize Association Survival of Maize during Drought

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Publisher
American Society of Plant Biologist
Copyright
Copyright © 1987 by the American Society of Plant Biologists
ISSN
1532-2548
eISSN
0032-0889
D.O.I.
10.1104/pp.84.3.582
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Steven J. Corak 2 , Dale G. Blevins and Stephen G. Pallardy Department of Agronomy, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211 School of Fisheries, Forestry and Wildlife, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211 Abstract We investigated the possibility of interspecific water transfer in an alfalfa ( Medicago sativa L.) and maize ( Zea mays L.) association. An alfalfa plant was grown through two vertically stacked plastic tubes. A 5 centimeter air gap between tubes was bridged by alfalfa roots. Five-week old maize plants with roots confined to the top tube were not watered, while associated alfalfa roots had free access to water in the bottom tube (the −/+ treatment). Additional treatments included: top and bottom tubes watered (+/+), top and bottom tubes droughted (−/−), and top tube droughted after removal of alfalfa root bridges and routine removal of alfalfa tillers (− * ). Predawn leaf water potential of maize in the −/+ treatment fell to −1.5 megapascals 13 days after the start of drought; thereafter, predawn and midday potentials were maintained near −1.9 megapascals. Leaf water potentials of maize in the −/− and − * treatments declined steadily; all plants in these treatments were completely desiccated before day 50. High levels of tritium activity were detected in water extracted from both alfalfa and maize leaves after 3 H 2 O was injected into the bottom −/+ tube at day 70 or later. Maize in the −/+ treatment was able to survive an otherwise lethal period of drought by utilizing water lost by alfalfa roots.

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