Pincovici, S., Cochavi, A., Karnieli, A., Ephrath, J., Rachmilevitch, S., (2018). Source-sink relations of sunflower plants as affected by a parasite modifies carbon alocations and leaf traits. Plant Science. 271:100-107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2018.03.022
Sunflower broomrape (Orobanche cumana) is a root holoparasitic plant causing major damage to sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). Parasite infection initiates source-sink relations between the parasite (sink) and the host (source), allocating carbohydrates, water and nutrients to the parasite. The primary aim of the current study was to explore responses of sunflower to broomrape parasitism, specifically to examine alternations in leaf area, leaf mass per area (LMA), mesophyll structure and root hydraulic conductivity. Leaf changes revealed modifications similar to described previously in shade adapted plants, causing larger and thinner leaves. These traits were accompanied with significantly higher root hydraulics. These changes were caused by carbohydrate depletion due to source-sink relationships between the host and parasite. An Imazapic herbicide (ALS inhibitor) was used for controlling broomrape attachments and by to investigate the plasticity of the traits found. Broomrape infected plants which were treated with Imazapic had leaves similar to non-infected plants, including mesophyll structure and carbon assimilation rates. These results demonstrated source-sink effects of broomrape which cause a low-light-like acclimation behavior which is reversible.
Strobach, E., Bel, G. (2017). Quantifying Uncertainties in an Ensembke of Decadal Climate Predictions. Journal of Geophysical Research. 122:13,191-13,200. DOI:10.1002/2017JD027249
Meaningful climate predictions must be accompanied by their corresponding range of uncertainty. Quantifying the uncertainties is nontrivial, and different methods have been suggested and used in the past. Here we propose a method that does not rely on any assumptions regarding the distribution of the ensemble member predictions. The method is tested using the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 1981–2010 decadal predictions and is shown to perform better than two other methods considered here. The improved estimate of the uncertainties is of great importance both for practical use and for better assessing the significance of the effects seen in theoretical studies.
Controlled experiments and modeling are crucial components in the evaluation of the fate of water and solutes in environmental and agricultural research. Lysimeters are commonly used to determine water and solute balances and assist in making sustainable decisions with respect to soil reclamation, fertilization, or irrigation with low-quality water. While models are cost-effective tools for estimating and preventing environmental damage by agricultural activities, their value is highly dependent on the accuracy of their parameterization, often determined by calibration. The main objective of this study was to use measured major ion concentrations collected from drip-irrigated lysimeters to calibrate the variably saturated water flow model HYDRUS (2D/3D) coupled with the reactive transport model UNSATCHEM. Irrigation alternated between desalinated and brackish waters. Lysimeter drainage and soil solution samples were collected for chemical analysis and used to calibrate the model. A second objective was to demonstrate the potential use of the calibrated model to evaluate lower boundary design options of lysimeters with respect to leaching fractions determined using drainage water fluxes, chloride concentrations, and overall salinity of drainage water, and exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) in the profile. The model showed that, in the long term, leaching fractions calculated with electrical conductivity values would be affected by the lower boundary condition pressure head, while those calculated with chloride concentrations and water fluxes would not be affected. In addition, clear dissimilarities in ESP profiles were found between lysimeters with different lower boundary conditions, suggesting a potential influence on hydraulic conductivities and flow patterns.
M. Kwame, Sherman, T., Lazarovitch N., Fait, A. and Rachmilevitch, S. (2017). A
bell pepper cultivar tolerant to chilling enhanced nitrogen allocation and
stress-related metabolite accumulation in the roots in response to low root
zone temperature. Physiologia Plantarum 161:196-210. doi:0.1111/ppl.12584.
Two bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivars, differing in their responseto chilling, were exposed to three levels of root-zone temperatures. Gasexchange, shoot and root phenology, and the pattern of change of the centralmetabolites and secondary metabolites caffeate and benzoate in the leavesand roots were profiled. Low root-zone temperature significantly inhibitedgaseous exchange, with a greater effect on the sensitive commercial pepperhybrid (Canon) than on the new hybrid bred to enhance abiotic stress tolerance(S103). The latter was less affected by the treatment with respect to plantheight, shoot dry mass, root maximum length, root projected area, numberof root tips and root dry mass. More carbon was allocated to the leavesof S103 than nitrogen at 17∘C, while in the roots at 17∘C, more nitrogenwas allocated and the ratio between C/N decreased. Metabolite profilingshowed greater increase in the root than in the leaves. Leaf response betweenthe two cultivars differed significantly. The roots accumulated stress-relatedmetabolites including -aminobutyric acid (GABA), proline, galactinol andraffinose and at chilling (7∘C) resulted in an increase of sugars in both cultivars.Our results suggest that the enhanced tolerance of S103 to root cold stress,reflected in the relative maintenance of shoot and root growth, is likely linkedto a more effective regulation of photosynthesis facilitated by the induction ofstress-related metabolism.
M.K., Sherman, T., Ephrath, J.E., Fait, A., Rachmilevitch, S. and Lazarovitch
N. (2017). Grafting as a method to increase the tolerance response of bell
pepper to extreme temperatures. Vadose Zone Journal.
Fluctuations of winter and summer and day and night temperatures stronglyinfluence shoot and root growth, as well as the whole plant tolerance toextreme soil temperatures. We compared the response of a commercialpepper (Capsicum annuum L.) hybrid (Romance, Rijk Zwaan) to a range ofsoil temperatures when grafted to a new rootstock hybrid (S101, Syngenta),self-grafted, or ungrafted. The new rootstock hybrid was bred for enhancingabiotic stress tolerance. Plants were grown during winter and summer seasonsin a plastic greenhouse with natural ventilation. Minirhizotron cameras andin-growth cores were used to investigate grafted bell pepper root dynamicsand root and shoot interactions in response to extreme (low and high airand soil) temperatures. Soil and air temperatures were measured throughoutthe experiment. The variations of the grafted peppers and the ungraftedaboveground biomass exposed to low and high temperatures during winterand summer were higher in the Romance grafted on the S101 rootstock thanin the self-grafted and ungrafted Romance. The plot of rootstock S101 accumulatedCl, and the rootstock efficiently allocated C into the leaves, stems,and roots and N into the leaves, stems, and fruits. These traits of rootstock S101can be used to improve the tolerance of other pepper cultivars to low andhigh soil temperatures, which could lengthen the pepper growin.
A., Šimůnek, J., Aidoo, M.K., Seidel, S. and Lazarovitch, N. (2017).
Implementation and application of a root growth module in HYDRUS. Vadose Zone
A root growth module was adapted and implemented into the HYDRUSsoftware packages to model root growth as a function of different environmentalstresses. The model assumes that various environmental factors,as well as soil hydraulic properties, can influence root development undersuboptimal conditions. The implementation of growth and stress functions inthe HYDRUS software opens the opportunity to derive parameters of thesefunctions from laboratory or field experimental data using inverse modeling.One of the most important environmental factors influencing root growth issoil temperature. The effects of temperature in the root growth module wasthe first part of the newly developed HYDRUS add-on to be validated bycomparing modeling results with measured rooting depths in an aeroponicexperimental system with bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). The experimentwas conducted at root zone temperatures of 7, 17, and 27°C. Inverseoptimization was used to estimate a single set of parameters that was foundto well reproduce measured time series of rooting depths for all temperaturetreatments. A sensitivity analysis showed that parameters such as the maximumrooting depth and cardinal temperatures had only a small impact onthe model output and can thus be specified using values from the literaturewithout significantly increasing prediction uncertainties. On the other hand,parameters that define the growth rate or the shape of the temperaturestress function had a high influence. The root growth module that considerstemperature stress only slightly increased the complexity of the standardHYDRUS models.
J., Tripler, E., Peng, X., and Lazarovitch, N. (2017). A wireless device for
continuous frond elongation measurement. Computers and
electronics in agriculture. 140:1-7.
Growth rate is one of the indicators for a plant’s physiological condition. Date palms are characterized byhigh frond elongation rates, which are mainly subjected to drought and salinity stresses. Thus, continuousmeasurement of these rates can provide real-time growth information, for assessing water statuswithin the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum of cultivated date palms. This study introduces a noveldevice, the Palmeter, which continuously measures real-time date palm frond elongation. ThePalmeter was calibrated in the laboratory and tested in a date palm orchard with a measurement resolutionof 0.52 mm. A field test indicated that the Palmeter could wirelessly transmit acquired data to asignal receiver over a distance of 100 m with a success rate of more than 98%, facilitating the establishmentof wireless sensor networks in date palm orchards. Neither temperature nor wind affected thePalmeter measurement within the orchard. The temporal patterns of the frond elongation measuredby the Palmeter were found to be sensitive to various cultivation treatments, such as fruit load regimes,applied within a field study. Additionally, a six-volt power supply is recommended in order to reduce thePalmeter’s power consumption. The feasibility and robustness of the Palmeter system guaranteed theaccurate measurement of the frond elongation under harsh field conditions. Therefore, the Palmetercan be potentially applied to measure the frond elongation of date palms and perhaps other palms, suchas oil palms and coconut palms, for irrigation scheduling and cultivation management in large orchards.
Raij, I., Ben-Gal, A., Lazarovitch, N. (2018). Soil and
irrigation heterogeneity effects on drainage amount and concentration. in
lysimeters: a numerical study. Agricultural water management. 195:1-10. doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2017.09.012
Water and solute fluxes measured
from lysimeters located in the field can be used to estimate evapotranspiration,
for irrigation scheduling and in solute leaching management. System-imposed heterogeneities are expected to affect
the variability of the measured fluxes, and therefore the uncertainty of data
obtained using lysimeters. In this study, local heterogeneities in soil
hydraulic conductivity and dripper discharge rate were studied and their effect
on drainage amount and concentration assessed. Three-dimensional simulations
were performed with HYDRUS (2D/3D) with 100 simulations per treatment. The
effect of three levels of soil and irrigation heterogeneities was studied for
lysimeters of two different sizes (1 m2 and 0.5 m2).
Additionally, three leaching fraction levels and water uptake reduction due to
solute stress were evaluated. Coefficient of variations of the drainage amount
and solute concentrations were evaluated for the different scenarios.
Irrigation heterogeneity caused higher variability in drainage amount while
soil heterogeneity caused higher variability in drainage concentration. The
larger the lysimeter, or the higher the leaching fraction, the lower the variability
for both drainage
concentration and amount. Combined soil and irrigation heterogeneities produced
no synergistic effect, suggesting that the variability measured in lysimeters
was governed by the factor that caused the highest variability. When water uptake reduction due to salinity was
considered, the same trends were observed. The results from this study can help
to decide if to use either drainage concentration or amount values, for saline
water irrigation management using lysimeters, according to the soil or
irrigation heterogeneity levels.
Reem Brenholtz G, Tamir-Ariel D, Okon Y, Burdman S. 2017. Carotenoid production and phenotypic variation in Azospirillumbrasilense. Research in Microbiology, 168:493-501
We assessed the occurrence of phenotypic variation in Azospirillum brasilensestrains Sp7, Cd, Sp245, Az39 and phv2 during growth in rich media, screening for variants altered in colony pigmentation or extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) production. Previous studies showed that EPS-overproducing variants of Sp7 appear frequently following starvation or growth in minimal medium. In contrast, no such variants were detected during growth in rich media in the tested strains except for few variants of phv2. Regarding alteration in colony pigmentation (from pink to white in strain Cd and from white to pink in the others), strain Sp7 showed a relatively high frequency of variation (0.009–0.026%). Strain Cd showed a lower frequency of alteration in pigmentation (0–0.008%), and this type of variation was not detected in the other strains. In A. brasilense, carotenoid synthesis is controlled by two RpoEsigma factors and their cognate ChrR anti-sigma factors, the latter acting as negative regulators of carotenoid synthesis. Here, all tested (n = 28) pink variants of Sp7 carried mutations in one of the anti-sigma factor genes, chrR1. Our findings indicate that, in A. brasilense, phenotypic variation is strain- and environment-dependent and support the central role of ChrR1 in regulation of carotenoid production.
Rapaport T., Hochberg U., Cochavi A., Karnieli A., Rachmilevitch S. 2017. The potential of the spectral ‘water balance index’ (WABI) forcrop irrigation scheduling. New Phytologist. DOI: 10.1111/nph.14718.
Hyperspectral sensing can detect slight changes in plant physiology, and may offer a faster and nondestructive alternative for water status monitoring. This premise was tested in the current study using a narrow-band ‘water balance index’ (WABI), which is based on independent changes in leaf water content (1500 nm) and the efficiency of the nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) photo-protective mechanism (531 nm).
The hydraulic, photo-protective and spectral behaviors of five important crops – grapevine, corn, tomato, pea and sunflower – were evaluated under water deficit conditions in order to associate the differences in stress physiology with WABI suitability.
Rapid alterations in both leaf water content and NPQ were observed in grapevine, pea and sunflower, and were effectively captured by WABI. Apart from water status monitoring, the index was also successful in scheduling the irrigation of a vineyard, despite phenological and environmental variability. Conversely, corn and tomato displayed a relatively strict stomatal regime and/or mild NPQ responses and were, thus, unsuitable for WABI-based monitoring.
WABI shows great potential for irrigation scheduling of various crops, and has a clear advantage over spectral models that focus on either of the above mentioned physiological mechanisms.
Dalal A., Attia Z. and Menachem M. 2017. To Produce or to Survive: How
Plastic Is Your Crop Stress
Physiology? frontiers in Plant Science. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.02067.
Abiotic stress causes major crop losses and is considered a greater challenge than
biotic stress. Comparisons of the number of published articles and patents regarding
these different types of stresses, and the number of commercially released crops
designed to tolerate different types of stresses, revealed a huge gap in the benchto-field
transfer rate of abiotic stress-tolerant crops, as compared to crops designed
to tolerate biotic stress. These differences underscore the complexity of abiotic
stress-response mechanisms. Here, we suggest that breeding programs favoring yieldrelated
quantitative physiological traits (QPTs; e.g., photosynthesis rate or stomatal
conductance) have canalized those QPTs at their highest levels. This has affected the
sensitivity of those QPTs to changing environmental conditions and those traits have
become less plastic. We also suggest that breeding pressure has had an asymmetric
impact on different QPTs, depending on their sensitivity to environmental conditions
and their interactions with other QPTs. We demonstrate this asymmetric impact on the
regulation of whole-plant water balance, showing how plastic membrane water content,
stomatal conductance and leaf hydraulic conductance interact to canalize whole-organ
water content. We suggest that a QPT’s plasticity is itself an important trait and that
understanding this plasticity may help us to develop yield-optimized crops.
Nir I., Shohat H., Panziel I., Olszewski N.E., Aharoni A. and Weiss D. 2017. The Tomato DELLA Protein PROCERA Acts in Guard Cells to Promote Stomatal Closure. Plant Cell. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00542.
Plants employ stomatal closure and reduced growth to avoid water deficiency damage. Reduced levels of the growth-promoting hormone gibberellin (GA) lead to increased tolerance to water deficit, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Here, we show that the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) DELLA protein PROCERA (PRO), a negative regulator of GA signaling, acts in guard cells to promote stomatal closure and reduce water loss in response to water deficiency by increasing abscisic acid (ABA) sensitivity. The loss-of-function pro mutant exhibited increased stomatal conductance and rapid wilting under water-deficit stress. Transgenic tomato overexpressing constitutively active stable DELLA proteins (S-della) displayed the opposite phenotype. The effects of S-della on stomatal aperture and water loss were strongly suppressed in the ABA-deficient mutant sitiens (sit), indicating that these effects of S-della are ABA-dependent. While DELLA had no effect on ABA levels, guard cell ABA responsiveness was increased in S-della and reduced in pro plants compared to wild type. Expressing S-della under the control of a guard-cell-specific promoter was sufficient to increase stomatal sensitivity to ABA and to reduce water loss under water-deficit stress but had no effect on leaf size. This result indicates that DELLA promotes stomatal closure independently of its effect on growth.