Contrasting water-use efficiency (WUE) responses of a potato mapping population and capability of modified ball-berry model to predict stomatal conductance and WUE measured at different environmental conditions
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) are drought-sensitive and more efficient water use, while maintaining high yields is required. Here, water-use efficiency (WUE) of a mapping population comprising 144 clones from a cross between 90-HAF-01 (Solanum tuberosum1) and 90-HAG-15 (S. tuberosum2 × S. sparsipilum) was measured on well-watered plants under controlled-environment conditions combining three levels of each of the factors: [CO2], temperature, light, and relative humidity in growth chambers. The clones were grouped according to their photosynthetic WUE (pWUE) and whole-plant WUE (wpWUE) during experiments in 2010. Two offspring groups according to pWUE and wpWUE were identified on the basis of experiments conducted in 2010, which in experiments in 2011 again showed significant differences in pWUE (46 %, P < 0.001) and wpWUE (34 %, P < 0.001). The high-WUE group had a higher net photosynthesis rate (34 %) and dry matter accumulation (55 %, P < 0.001) rather than leaf-level transpiration rate (-4 %, no significant difference) or whole-plant water use (16 %). The pWUE correlated negatively to the ratio between leaf-internal and leaf-external [CO2] (R2 = -0.86 in 2010 and R2 = -0.83 in 2011, P < 0.001). The leaf chlorophyll content was lower in the high-WUE group indicating that the higher net photosynthesis rate was not due to higher leaf-N status. Less negative value of carbon isotope discrimination (δ13C) in the high-WUE group was only found in 2011. A modified Ball-Berry model was fitted to measured stomatal conductance (gs) under the systematically varied environmental conditions to identify parameter differences between the two groups, which could explain their contrasting WUE. Compared to the low-WUE group, the high-WUE group showed consistently lower values of the parameter m, which is inversely related to WUE. Differences related specifically to the dependence of gs on humidity and net photosynthesis rate were only found in 2010. The lower ratio between leaf-internal and leaf-external [CO2] and higher WUE of the high-WUE group was consistent over a wide range of air vapour pressure deficits from 0.5 to 3.5 kPa. The mapping population was normally distributed with respect to WUE suggesting a multigenic nature of this trait. The WUE groups identified can be further employed for quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis by use of gene expression studies or genome resequencing. The differences in population WUE indicate a genetic potential for improvement of this trait.
Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 2015, Vol 201, Issue 2, p. 81-94