Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 321–333 | Cite as

Is a reduction in stomatal conductance the main strategy of Garcinia brasiliensis (Clusiaceae) to deal with water stress?

  • Paula Romenya dos Santos Gouvêa
  • Ricardo Antonio MarencoEmail author


A reduction in rainfall is predicted by climate models for some parts of the Amazon, and a decline in stomatal conductance (gs) is often the main effect of drought. The physiological effect of soil water deficit on other physiological traits has been little investigated in Amazonian trees. In this work we assess the effect of soil water deficit on leaf pigment content, gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, total leaf area (AL), consumptive use of water (CUW, total amount of water used for irrigation), and biomass accumulation. Plants of Garcinia brasiliensis were grown in pots under greenhouse conditions and submitted to soil water deficit for 90 days, when several physiological parameters were measured. Water deficit was induced by reducing soil water content (SWC) to 25, 50 and 75% of field capacity (FC). The control was soil at 100% FC. Midday leaf water potential varied from − 0.72 MPa (SWC at 25% FC) to − 0.29 MPa in well-irrigated plants. Subjecting the plants to soil water deficit did not affect light saturating photosynthesis, leaf pigment content, Ribulose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) activity or fluorescence parameters. Under moderate water stress Garcinia plants did not reduce stomatal conductance (gs) which remained rather unchanged. Instead, we found that mild water stress led to an increase in total non-structural carbohydrates, and as the stress progressed AL substantially declined, at a SWC of 25% FC. Drastic reduction of AL in plants exposed to SWC of 25% FC contributed to a reduction in total biomass accumulation, and a drop in AL resulted in a decline in CUW in this treatment. These results show that although there is no effect of moderated water stress on photosynthesis, gs or photochemical responses, there is a remarkable effect of moderate drought on biomass accumulation.


Leaf water content Non-structural carbohydrates Rheedia brasiliensis Specific leaf area Total plant transpiration 



Total leaf area








Intercellular CO2 concentration


CO2 concentration in the leaf chamber


Consumptive use of water


Transpiration (instantaneous)


Total plant transpiration per unit area


Electron transport rate


Field capacity


Maximum Chl fluorescence of a dark-adapted leaf


Maximum Chl fluorescence of an illuminated leaf


Steady-state fluorescence


Leaf water content


Stomatal conductance


Plant height


Maximum electron transport rate


Michaelis constant of Rubisco for carboxylation


Michaelis constant of Rubisco for oxygenation


Leaf number (per plant)


Non-photochemical quenching


Non-structural carbohydrates


Photosynthetically active radiation


Net photosynthetic rate


Light and CO2 saturated photosynthesis


PNmax on a mass basis


Light saturated photosynthesis


PNsat on a mass basis


Leaf respiration (in the dark)


Relative humidity


Leaf size


Specific leaf area


Shoot/root ratio


Soil water content (%, w/w)


Total non-structural carbohydrates


Maximum carboxylation rate of Rubisco


Leaf biomass


Root biomass


Stem biomass


Total biomass


Instantaneous water-use efficiency


Whole-plant water-use efficiency


CO2 compensation point in the absence of mitochondrial respiration


Leaf water potential


Effective quantum yield of photosystem II



To the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC/INPA PRJ 15.120), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, CNPq (fellowship to RAM) and FAPEAM for scholarship to PRSG. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the quality of the manuscript.

Author contributions

PRSG collected gas exchange data, performed laboratory analyses and made the calculations; RAM planned and supervised the experiment, and wrote the article with contributions of the first author.


This work was supported by the National Institute for Research in the Amazon (MCTIC/INPA PRJ 15.120) and CNPq.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40626_2018_127_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Brazilian Society of Plant Physiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tropic Humid Agriculture Graduate ProgramNational Institute for Research in the Amazon (INPA)ManausBrazil
  2. 2.Coordination of Environmental DynamicNational Institute for Research in the Amazon (INPA)ManausBrazil

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