D. Boguszewska-Mańkowska, M. Pieczyński, A. Wyrzykowska, H. M. Kalaji, L. Sieczko, Z. Szweykowska-Kulińska and B. Zagdańska
Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science; Volume 204, Issue 1; February 2018, Pages 13–30
The physiological responses of potato (Solanum tuberosum L) cultivars to soil drought at the tuberization phase and their impact on agronomically important traits were investigated in potted plants under semi-controlled conditions. Genotype-dependent responses of potato to water deficiency were evaluated on two pairs (tolerant/sensitive) of Polish cultivars. Each pair of cultivars had a similar genetic background but was extremely different in terms of drought tolerance evaluated on the basis of loss of tuber yield under field conditions. The results clearly indicate different mechanisms of tolerance to water deficiency and the ability to recover from soil drought in two tolerant but genetically unrelated cultivars. When subjected to soil drought, the cultivar Gwiazda had low rates of transpiration and photosynthesis and low levels of stomatal conductance due to hypersensitivity to ABA, but its maximal photochemistry efficiency and PSII performance index were unchanged. Another strategy was displayed by the dehydration-avoidant cultivar Tajfun, which kept the stomata partially open. Thus, the plants were able to retain a relatively high rate of photosynthesis over transpiration. The parameters measured for cultivar Tajfun for photosynthesis and transpiration were the same after plant rewatering, similar to the control plants. This was not the case for the cultivar Gwiazda. The ability of plants to regenerate after soil drought relief appears to be a good indicator of potato susceptibility to soil drought and allows the yield of potato tubers to be predicted. The physiological traits identified in closely related potato cultivars but differed in their drought tolerance seem to be useful for genetic engineering and breeding programmes.
Figure 1: Potato plants growing under optimal conditions (a), subjected to 13 days of soil drought (b) and recovered from soil drought for three days (c). Dynamics of plant wilting and recovery from dehydration were assessed visually based on wilting and regeneration (see M&M) scales (yellow numerals)