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Title: Young daughter cladodes affect CO2 uptake by mother cladodes of Opuntia ficus-indica
Author: Pimienta-Barrios, E.
Zanudo-Hernandez, J.
Rosas-Espinoza, V.C.
Valenzuela-Tapia, A.
Nobel, P.S.
Issue Date: 2005
Abstract: Background and Aims: Drought damages cultivated C3, C4 and CAM plants in the semi-arid lands of central Mexico. Drought damage to Opuntia is common when mother cladodes, planted during the dry spring season, develop young daughter cladodes that behave like C3 plants, with daytime stomatal opening and water loss. In contrast, wild Opuntia are less affected because daughter cladodes do not develop on them under extreme drought conditions. The main objective of this work is to evaluate the effects of the number of daughter cladodes on gas exchange parameters of mother cladodes of Opuntia ficus-indica exposed to varying soil water contents. " Methods: Rates of net CO2 uptake, stomatal conductance, intercellular CO 2 concentration, chlorophyll content and relative water content were measured in mature mother cladodes with a variable number of daughter cladodes growing in spring under dry and wet conditions. " Key Results: Daily carbon gain by mother cladodes was reduced as the number of daughter cladodes increased to eight, especially during drought. This was accompanied by decreased mother cladode relative water content, suggesting movement of water from mother to daughter cladodes. CO2 assimilation was most affected in phase IV of CAM (late afternoon net CO2 uptake) by the combined effects of daughter cladodes and drought. Rainfall raised the soil water content, decreasing the effects of daughter cladodes on net CO2 uptake by mother cladodes. " Conclusions: Daughter cladodes significantly hasten the effects of drought on mother cladodes by competition for the water supply and thus decrease daily carbon gain by mother cladodes, mainly by inhibiting phase IV of CAM. " 2004 Annals of Botany Company.
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