Flooding is characterized by saturation of soil pores with water, leading to hypoxic conditions which affect plant root development and metabolism. We investigated the oxygen deficiency tolerance observed in Quercus robur and Quercus petraea and seek to understand whether it can be explained by enhanced efficiency in oxygen use in the roots, as estimated through radial oxygen loss visualization in relation to growth measurements and root apex respiration. The study showed that root growth, under oxygen deficiency conditions, was significantly reduced only in Q. robur seedlings. Root respiration was maintained in Q. robur, whereas it was decreased in Q. petraea. Both species set up a barrier against radial oxygen loss, though measurement of apex oxygen leakage showed greater oxygen efficiency in Q. robur seedlings. This strategy might allow Q. robur to maintain its respiration and thus to survive longer under oxygen deficiency conditions by facilitating the seedling establishment in transient flooded soils.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 8, 2017
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