Drought differently affects growth properties, leaf ultrastructure, nitrogen absorption and metabolism of two dominant species of Hippophae in Tibet Plateau

  • Juan ChenEmail author
  • Yudong Li
  • Yan Luo
  • Weiguo Tu
  • Ting Wan
Original Article


Hippophae has been exploited as food, medicine as well as pioneer species for fixing nitrogen (N) and preventing desertification in Tibetan Plateau. In the paper, the eco-physiological responses and adaptive abilities of Hippophae rhamnoides and Hippophae thibetana seedlings under two levels of drought (50% and 30% field capacity) were investigated. The results indicated that two drought treatments differently affected biomass partition, water use efficiency, ammonia (NH4-N) and nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) absorption, contents of hydrolysable amino acids (AA) and leaf ultrastructure of the two species of Hippophae. The two species had better resistance to moderate drought, while extreme drought showed more negative effects on biomass and ultrastructure of H. rhamnoides. Two drought treatments significantly increased water use efficiency of the two species. In H. rhamnoides, the two levels of drought stresses decreased the absorption of ammonia and nitrate nitrogen, whereas only inhibited NO3-N absorption of H. thibetana. The H. thibetana seedlings had more root nodules and higher R/S ratio than H. rhamnoides, while H. rhamnoides seedlings increased most individual and total AA in leaf and root organs under two drought treatments. The different growth, N-related absorption as well as metabolism responses of the two dominant species of Hippophae to drought stress may affect seedling colonization, the ecological function of N fixation and preventing desertification in Tibet Plateau in the future.


Hippophae Biomass δ13N absorption and metabolism Drought 



The research was funded by the Basic Research Project Science and Technology Department of Sichuan province of China (No. 2015JY0014), Research Program of Sichuan Provincial Key Laboratory of Ecological Security and Protection of China (No. SP 0014), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31500505) and Fundamental Research Funds of Plant Resource Sharing Platform of Sichuan Province (No. TJPT20160021).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sichuan Province Key Laboratory of Ecological Security and ProtectionMianyang Normal UniversityMianyangChina
  2. 2.Sichuan Provincial Laboratory for Biotic Resource Protection and Sustainable UtilizationSichuan Provincial Academy of Natural Resource SciencesChengduChina

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