Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 42:22 | Cite as

Genetic and physiological analysis of early drought response in Manihot esculenta and its wild relative

  • Carolina Vianna MorganteEmail author
  • Sávio Luiz Pereira Nunes
  • Agnaldo Rodrigues de Melo Chaves
  • Cláudia Fortes Ferreira
  • Saulo de Tarso Aidar
  • Alison Borges Vitor
  • Eder Jorge de Oliveira
Original Article


Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a staple food crop mostly grown in the tropics. Successful cultivation in marginal areas derives from its ability to withstand difficult environmental conditions. Aiming at providing new insights into drought tolerance in Manihot spp., we performed physiological and molecular analyses of early drought response in three cassava varieties and in the wild species, Manihot glaziovii (maniçoba). Plants grown in pots were subjected to three water regimes for 5 days, based on soil field capacity (FC): 75% (well-watered plants); 45% (moderately stressed plants), and 20% (severely stressed plants), under greenhouse condition. Analysis of leaf gas exchange showed a downward trend in photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and transpiration, with intensification of the stress, in all genotypes, being significantly reduced only at 20% FC. Maniçoba stood out for maintaining a positive carbon balance in severe stress condition via stomatal aperture control. Photoinhibition of the photosystem II by drought was also evident only at 20% FC. There was no clear association between proline accumulation and drought stress tolerance. Expression analysis of nine genes encoding heat-shock proteins, transcription factors, a cell redox homeostasis protein, and a no-hit protein confirmed the activation of classical stress-responsive pathways, especially those involved in oxidative damage avoidance. These results reinforce the intrinsic drought tolerance of cassava, highlight the superior performance of maniçoba under water deficit conditions, and give insights into drought phenotyping in cassava and contribute to further development of functional molecular markers to be used in assisted breeding.


Cassava Manihot glaziovii Water deficit Gene expression analysis RT-qPCR 



The authors thank the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado da Bahia (FAPESB), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for the financial assistance and scholarship support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11738_2019_3005_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (124 kb)
Supplementry material 1 (JPG 124 kb)
11738_2019_3005_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Table 1 Suppl. Genes and primers used for expression analysis (XLSX 11 kb)
11738_2019_3005_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Table 2 Suppl. Anova Analysis of Reference Gene Expression (XLSX 10 kb)


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolina Vianna Morgante
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sávio Luiz Pereira Nunes
    • 2
    • 3
  • Agnaldo Rodrigues de Melo Chaves
    • 1
  • Cláudia Fortes Ferreira
    • 4
  • Saulo de Tarso Aidar
    • 1
  • Alison Borges Vitor
    • 3
  • Eder Jorge de Oliveira
    • 4
  1. 1.Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa AgropecuáriaCentro de Pesquisa Agropecuária do Trópico SemiáridoPetrolinaBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco, Campus Ciências AgráriasPetrolinaBrazil
  3. 3.Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da BahiaCruz das AlmasBrazil
  4. 4.Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Mandioca e Fruticultura TropicalCruz das AlmasBrazil

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