Stomatal responses to long-term high vapor pressure deficits mediated most limitation of photosynthesis in tomatoes

  • Qingjie Du
  • Guoming Xing
  • Xiaocong Jiao
  • Xiaoming Song
  • Jianming LiEmail author
Original Article


Plants grown at high vapor pressure deficit (VPD) usually present decreased photosynthesis, but stomatal and mesophyll limitation to photosynthesis remain poorly quantified. To better understand the regulation of high VPD on photosynthesis and plant growth in tomatoes, we investigated the limitation of stomatal conductance and mesophyll conductance to photosynthesis and relative importance of stomatal morphology and function in stomatal conductance. Both the net photosynthesis rate and total biomass were significantly limited by high VPD. Meanwhile, stomatal conductance and mesophyll conductance were decreased under high VPD. The stomatal conductance limitation was responsible for 60% of the total photosynthetic limitation. Moreover, a reduction in stomatal density and stomatal size occurred under high VPD, which was significantly correlated with the down-regulation of stomatal conductance. The stomatal morphology contributed to more than half the change in stomatal conductance. Nevertheless, stomatal movement was also an important factor in regulating stomatal conductance. The decrease of hydraulic conductance and transpiration rate with no significant difference in relative water content, leaf water potential, and/or osmotic potential suggested passive hydraulic regulation in the feedforward responses of stomata to high VPD.


Photosynthesis Stomatal conductance Stomatal morphology Stomatal behavior Tomato Vapor pressure deficit 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China [31471916].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qingjie Du
    • 1
  • Guoming Xing
    • 2
  • Xiaocong Jiao
    • 1
  • Xiaoming Song
    • 1
  • Jianming Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of HorticultureNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center of Quality and Profit Improvement for the Protected Vegetables of Shanxi ProvinceTaiguPeople’s Republic of China

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