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The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of water stress conditioning on the photosynthesis response of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) to moisture deficiency. Tillers of the two species were grown in the same, controlled, environment and were subjected to three conditioning water stress cycles, or were kept well watered. After drought conditioning all plants were subjected to moisture deficiency while photosynthesis and leaf water potential were monitored. Measurements were taken between –0.8 and –4.0 MPa and the rate of water stress was 0.49 MPa/day. The conditioning of switchgrass produced a 26% reduction in the photosynthesis rate during drought, while that of tall fescue produced a 57% reduction in photosynthesis. Both species maintained elongation and photosynthesis down to lower leaf water potentials after drought conditioning than before conditioning. The conditioning water stress cycles decreased the leaf conductance, mesophyll resistance and transpiration of tall fescue plants after rewatering. The leaf water potential of conditioned switchgrass plants was lower upon rewatering after three conditioning water stress cycles than the leaf water potential of non-conditioned plants, while the leaf conductance, mesophyll resistance and transpiration of conditioned and non-conditioned tillers were equal. These data indicate an improvement in the drought tolerance of tall fescue and switchgrass plants, emphasize the importance of knowing the previous water stress history of the plants in moisture deficiency experiments, and help to choose proper irrigation management for switchgrass and tall fescue.

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Acta Agronomica Hungarica
Language English
Year of
per Year
per Year
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia   
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0238-0161 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2527 (Online)

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