Special Issue: Water Saving in Agriculture   

October 2007, Volume 49 Issue 10, Pages 1409-1536.

Cover Caption:
As the consequence of global warming and industrialization, water deficit has become a severe problem for agriculture. Research has been carried out to find ways to solve the problem. In this issue, we have a collection of 13 featured articles (from page 1410 to page 1534) to show how biological studies, from plant physiology to developmental biology, could help to maintain the agricultural production in the challenging situation. The cover picture shows the remaining wetland in southern Gansu Province, China (photography provided by Chun-Ming Liu).


Water-saving Agriculture: An Urgent Issue  
Author: Zheng-Bin Zhang and Jianhua Zhang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1409-1409
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00565.x
Abstract (Browse 1904)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
          Invited Expert Reviews
Modulation of Root Signals in Relation to Stomatal Sensitivity to Root-sourced Abscisic Acid in Drought-affected Plants  
Author: Huibo Ren, Kaifa Wei, Wensuo Jia, William John Davies and, Jianhua Zhang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1410-1420
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00549.x
    Stomatal sensitivity to root signals induced by soil drying may vary between environments and plant species. This is likely to be a result of the interactions and modulations among root signals. As a stress signal, abscisic acid (ABA) plays a central role in root to shoot signaling. pH and hydraulic signals may interact with ABA signals and thus, jointly regulate stomatal responses to changed soil water status. pH itself can be modified by several factors, among which the chemical compositions in the xylem stream and the live cells surrounding the vessels play crucial roles. In addition to the xylem pH, more attention should be paid to the direct modulation of leaf apoplastic pH, because many chemical compositions might strongly modify the leaf apoplastic pH while having no significant effect on the xylem pH. The direct modulation of the ABA signal intensity may be more important for the regulation of stomatal responses to soil drying than the ABA signal per se. The ABA signal is also regulated by the ABA catabolism and the supply of precursors to the roots if a sustained root to shoot communication of soil drying operates at the whole plant level. More importantly, ABA catabolism could play crucial roles in the determination of the fate of the ABA signal and thereby control the stomatal behavior of the root-sourced ABA signal.
Abstract (Browse 1913)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Deficit Irrigation as a Strategy to Save Water: Physiology and Potential Application to Horticulture  
Author: J. Miguel Costa, Maria F. Ortuño and M. Manuela Chaves
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1421-1434
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00556.x
    Water is an increasingly scarce resource worldwide and irrigated agriculture remains one of the largest and most inefficient users of this resource. Low water use efficiency (WUE) together with an increased competition for water resources with other sectors (e.g. tourism or industry) are forcing growers to adopt new irrigation and cultivation practices that use water more judiciously. In areas with dry and hot climates, drip irrigation and protected cultivation have improved WUE mainly by reducing runoff and evapotranspiration losses. However, complementary approaches are still needed to increase WUE in irrigated agriculture. Deficit irrigation strategies like regulated deficit irrigation or partial root drying have emerged as potential ways to increase water savings in agriculture by allowing crops to withstand mild water stress with no or only marginal decreases of yield and quality. Grapevine and several fruit tree crops seem to be well adapted to deficit irrigation, but other crops like vegetables tend not to cope so well due to losses in yield and quality. This paper aims at providing an overview of the physiological basis of deficit irrigation strategies and their potential for horticulture by describing the major consequences of their use to vegetative growth, yield and quality of different crops (fruits, vegetables and ornamentals).
Abstract (Browse 3150)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Stomatal Density and Bio-water Saving  
Author: Yao Wang, Xi Chen and Cheng-Bin Xiang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1435-1444
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00554.x
    Bio-water saving is to increase water use efficiency of crops or crop yield per unit of water input. Plant water use efficiency is determined by photosynthesis and transpiration, for both of which stomata are crucial. Stomata are pores on leaf epidermis for both water and carbon dioxide fluxes that are controlled by two major factors: stomatal behavior and density. Stomatal behavior has been the focus of intensive research, while less attention has been paid to stomatal density. Recently, a number of genes controlling stomatal development have been identified. This review summarizes the recent progress on the genes regulating stomatal density, and discusses the role of stomatal density in plant water use efficiency and the possibility to increase plant water use efficiency, hence bio-water saving by genetically manipulating stomatal density.
Abstract (Browse 2682)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
          Research Articles
Water-Saving and High-Yielding Irrigation for Lowland Rice by Controlling Limiting Values of Soil Water Potential  
Author: Jianchang Yang, Kai Liu, Zhiqin Wang, Yong Du and Jianhua Zhang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1445-1454
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00555.x
    The present study investigated whether an irrigation system could be established to save water and increase grain yield to enhance water productivity by proper water management at the field level in irrigated lowland rice (Oryza sativa L.). Using two field-grown rice cultivars, two irrigation systems; conventional irrigation and water-saving irrigation, were conducted. In the water-saving irrigation system, limiting values of soil water potential related to specific growth stages were proposed as irrigation indices. Compared with conventional irrigation where drainage was in mid-season and flooded at other times, the water-saving irrigation increased grain yield by 7.4% to 11.3%, reduced irrigation water by 24.5% to 29.2%, and increased water productivity (grain yield per cubic meter of irrigation water) by 43.1% to 50.3%. The water-saving irrigation significantly increased harvest index, improved milling and appearance qualities, elevated zeatin + zeatin riboside concentrations in root bleedings and enhanced activities of sucrose synthase, adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase, starch synthase and starch branching enzyme in grains. Our results indicate that water-saving irrigation by controlling limiting values of soil water potential related to specific growth stages can enhance physiological activities of roots and grains, reduce water input, and increase grain yield.
Abstract (Browse 2234)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Analysis of Gene Expression Profile Induced by Water Stress in Upland Rice (Oryza sativa L. var. IRAT109) Seedlings using Subtractive Expressed Sequence Tags Library  
Author: Haiguang Wang, Hongliang Zhang and Zichao Li
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1455-1463
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00553.x
    To identify the water stress induced genes of upland rice cultivar IRAT109, which is resistant to drought, a subtractive cDNA library was developed from polyethylene glycol- (PEG) treated and non-treated seedlings by suppression subtractive hybridization, from which 2 112 recombinant colonies were obtained. Eight hundred clones were selected randomly for sequencing analysis, and 384 unique expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained. They were found to be involved in diverse biological processes, such as metabolism, transcription, signal transduction, protein synthesis and others. Notably a number of known functional genes in drought tolerance, including genes related to biosynthesis of osmoprotectants, defense against active oxygen, removal of toxic compounds, recovery of proteins and reinforcement of cell wall were also found in the study. Several genes related to deleterious responses were upregulated by PEG stress. The differential expression patterns of 11 SSH-derived ESTs were confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Abstract (Browse 1779)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Panicle Water Potential, a Physiological Trait to Identify Drought Tolerance in Rice  
Author: Guo-Lan Liu, Han-Wei Mei, Xin-Qiao Yu, Gui-Hua Zou, Hong-Yan Liu, Ming-Shou Li, Liang Chen, Jin-Hong Wu and Li-Jun Luo
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1464-1469
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00551.x
    Two upland rice varieties (IRAT109, IAPAR9) and one lowland rice variety (Zhenshan 97B) were planted in summer and treated with both normal (full water) and drought stress in the reproductive stage. Panicle water potential (PWP) and leaf water potential (LWP) were measured every 1.0每1.5 h over 24 h on sunny days. Both PWP and LWP of upland varieties started to decrease later, maintained a higher level and recovered more quickly than that of the lowland variety. The results show that PWP can be used as an indicator of plant water status based on the parallel daily changes, and the high correlation between PWP and LWP. Similar correlations were also observed between PWP, LWP and eight traits related to plant growth and grain yield formation. PWP seemed to be more effective for distinguishing the upland rice varieties with different drought-tolerant ability. Differences in PWP and LWP between upland and lowland rice varieties were also observed at noon even under normal water conditions, implying the incorporation of the drought-tolerant mechanism to improve the photosynthesis and yield of traditional paddy rice.
Abstract (Browse 2622)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Photosynthesis and Water Use Efficiency of Platycladus Orientalis and Robinia Pseudoacacia Saplings under Steady Soil Water Stress during Different Stages of Their Annual Growth Period  
Author: Ming-Chun Wang, Jin-Xin Wang, Qing-Hua Shi and Jin-Song Zhang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1470-1477
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00561.x
    A simulated drought experiment was conducted in a rain-free shed to test the physiological response of Platycladus orientalis and Robinia pseudoacacia saplings to steady soil water stress during different stages. The five soil water treatments were: 100%, 87.84%, 70%, 52.16% and 40% of field capacity. The results showed that the net photosynthetic rate of R. pseudoacacia decreased as soil water potential decreased in the range between −0.041 MPa and 每0.292 MPa. The threshold value at which the net photosynthetic rate changed significantly was −0.12 MPa. The relationship between net photosynthetic rate of P. orientalis and soil water potential could be described as a quadratic parabola in the range between −0.041 MPa and −0.648 MPa. Analysis of variance showed significant differences in the net photosynthetic rate of P. orientalis between soil water potentials of −0.061 MPa −0.648 MPa. Average water use efficiency (WUE) increased as soil water potential decreased, but the influence mechanism of soil water stress on leaf WUE and photosynthetic rate for the two species were different evidently.
Abstract (Browse 3382)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Carbon Isotope Discrimination is not Correlated with Transpiration Efficiency in Three Cool-Season Grain Legumes (Pulses)  
Author: Neil C. Turner, Jairo A. Palta, Renuka Shrestha, Christiane Ludwig, Kadambot H. M. Siddique and David W. Turner
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1478-1483
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00557.x
    The carbon isotope discrimination (汛13C) of leaves has been shown to be correlated with the transpiration efficiency of leaves in a wide range of species. This has led to 汛13C being used in breeding programs to select for improved transpiration efficiency. The correlation between 汛13C and transpiration efficiency was determined under well-watered conditions during the vegetative phase in six genotypes of lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus), six genotypes of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) and 10 cultivars of narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.). Biomass (dry matter) accumulation and water use (transpiration) varied among the genotypes in all three species and transpiration efficiency was 40% to 75% higher in the most efficient compared with the least efficient genotypes. However, 汛13C and transpiration efficiency were not significantly correlated in any of the species. This suggests that the 汛13C technique cannot be used in selection for transpiration efficiency in the three grain legumes (pulses) studied.
Abstract (Browse 1766)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Sodium Stress in the Halophyte Thellungiella halophila and Transcriptional Changes in a thsos1-RNA Interference Line  
Author: Dong-Ha Oh, Qingqiu Gong, Alex Ulanov, Quan Zhang, Youzhi Li, Wenying Ma, Dae-Jin Yun, Ray A. Bressan and Hans J. Bohnert
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1484-1496
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00548.x
    The plasma membrane Na+/H+-antiporter salt overly sensitive1 (SOS1) from the halophytic Arabidopsis-relative Thellungiella halophila (ThSOS1) shows conserved sequence and domain structure with the orthologous genes from Arabidopsis thaliana and other plants. When expression of ThSOS1 was reduced by RNA interference (RNAi), pronounced characteristics of salt-sensitivity were observed. We were interested in monitoring altered transcriptional responses between Thellungiella wild type and thsos1-4, a representative RNAi line with particular emphasis on root responses to salt stress at 350 mmol/L NaCl, a concentration that is only moderately stressful for mature wild type plants. Transcript profiling revealed several functional categories of genes that were differently affected in wild-type and RNAi plants. Down-regulation of SOS1 resulted in different gene expression even in the absence of stress. The pattern of gene induction in the RNAi plant under salt stress was similar to that of glycophytic Arabidopsis rather than that of wild type Thellungiella. The RNAi plants failed to down-regulate functions that are normally reduced in wild type Thellungiella upon stress and did not up-regulate functions that characterize the Thellungiella salt stress response. Metabolite changes observed in wild type Thellungiella after salt stress were less pronounced or absent in RNAi plants. Transcript and metabolite behavior suggested SOS1 functions including but also extending its established function as a sodium transporter. The down-regulation of ThSOS1 converted the halophyte Thellungiella into a salt-sensitive plant.
Abstract (Browse 2257)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Relationship between Carbon Isotope Discrimination and Grain Yield in Spring Wheat Cultivated under Different Water Regimes  
Author: Xing Xu, Hanming Yuan, Shuhua Li, Richard Trethowan and Philippe Monneveux
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1497-1507
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00562.x
    In C3 plants, carbon isotope discrimination (忖) has been proposed as an indirect selection criterion for grain yield. Reported correlations between 忖 and grain yield however, differ highly according to the analyzed organ or tissue, the stage of sampling, and the environment and water regime. In a first experiment carried out in spring wheat during two consecutive seasons in the dry conditions of northwest Mexico (Ciudad Obregon, Sonora), different water treatments were applied, corresponding to the main water regimes available to spring wheat worldwide, and the relationships between 忖 values of different organs and grain yield were examined. Under terminal (post-anthesis) water stress, grain yield was positively associated with 忖 in grain at maturity and in leaf at anthesis, confirming results previously obtained under Mediterranean environments. Under early (pre-anthesis) water stress and residual moisture stress, the association between grain 忖 and yield was weaker and highly depended on the quantity of water stored in the soil at sowing. No correlation was found between 忖 and grain yield under optimal irrigation. The relationship between 忖 and grain yield was also studied during two consecutive seasons in 20 bread wheat cultivars in the Ningxia region (Northern China), characterized by winter drought (pre-anthesis water stress). Wheat was grown under rainfed conditions in two locations (Guyuan and Pengyang) and under irrigated conditions in another two (Yinchuan and Huinong). In Huinong, the crop was also exposed to salt stress. Highly significant positive associations were found between leaf and grain 忖 and grain yields across the environments. The relationship between 忖 and yield within environments highly depended on the quantity of water stored in the soil at sowing, the quantity and distribution of rainfall during the growth cycle, the presence of salt in the soil, and the occurrence of irrigation before anthesis. These two experiments confirmed the value of 忖 as an indirect selection criterion for yield and a phenotyping tool under post-anthesis water stress (including limited irrigation).
Abstract (Browse 1783)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Screening for Drought Resistance of Rice Recombinant Inbred Populations in the Field  
Author: Gui-Hua Zou, Hong-Yan Liu, Han-Wei Mei, Guo-Lan Liu, Xin-Qiao Yu, Ming-Sou Li, Jing-Hong Wu, Liang Chen and Li-Jun Luo
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1508-1516
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00560.x
    In a 2-year experiment, 187 genotypes were grown under well-watered and drought stress conditions, imposed at panicle initiation stage. The relationship of genotypic variation in yield under drought conditions to potential yield, heading date and flowering delay, reduction in plant height, and to a drought response index (DRI) was detected. Grain yield under drought stress conditions was associated with yield under well-watered conditions (r = 0.47**, and r = 0.61** during 2 years of tests). The delay of heading date ranged from 每1 (no delay) to 24 days, and was negatively associated with grain yield (r = 每0.40*), spikelet fertility percentage (r = 每0.40**), harvest index (r = 每0.58**), but positively associated with yield reduction percentage (r = 0.60**). The reduction in plant height was negatively associated with grain yield (r = 每0.24**, and r = 每0.29**), spikelet fertility percentage (r = 每0.23**, and r = 每0.21*), harvest index (r = 每0.37**, and r = 每0.54**), and positively associated with yield reduction percentage (r = 0.58**, and r = 0.58**) in 2003 and 2004, respectively. The DRI of genotypes was strongly associated with grain yield (r = 0.87**, and r = 0.77**), fertility percentage (r = 0.66** and r = 0.54**), harvest index (r = 0.67** and r = 0.61**), and negatively associated with grain reduction percentage (r = 每0.70**, and r = 每0.73**) under drought stress. The results indicate that genotypes with drought resistance can be identified by measuring yield potential, delay in flowering, reduction in plant height, or DRI under test environments of well-watered and drought stress.
Abstract (Browse 2140)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Much Improved Irrigation Use Efficiency in an Intensive Wheat-Maize Double Cropping System in the North China Plain  
Author: Quanxiao Fang, Yuhai Chen, Qiang Yu, Zhu Ouyang, Quanqi Li and Shunzhang Yu
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1517-1526
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00559.x
    Crop yield and water use efficiency (WUE) in a wheat-maize double cropping system are influenced by short and uneven rainfalls in the North China Plain (NCP). A 2-year experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of irrigation on soil water balance, crop yield and WUE to improve irrigation use efficiency in the cropping system. Soil water depletion (忖SWS) by crop generally decreased with the increase of irrigation and rainfall, while 忖SWS for the whole rotation was relatively stable among these irrigation treatments. High irrigations in wheat season increased initial soil moisture and 忖SWS for subsequent maize especially in the drought season. Initial soil water influenced mainly by the irrigation and rainfall in the previous crop season, is essential to high yield in such cropping systems. Grain yield decreased prior to evapotranspiration (ET) when ET reached about 300 mm for wheat, while maize showed various WUEs with similar seasonal ET. For whole rotation, WUE declined when ET exceeded about 650 mm. These results indicate great potential for improving irrigation use efficiency in such wheat-maize cropping system in the NCP. Based on the present results, reasonable irrigation schedules according to different annual rainfall conditions are presented for such a cropping system.
Abstract (Browse 1985)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Much Improved Water Use Efficiency of Rice under Non-Flooded Mulching Cultivation  
Author: Guo-Wei Xu, Zi-Chang Zhang, Jian-Hua Zhang and Jian-Chang Yang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2007 49(10): 1527-1534
DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00558.x
    Water shortage is increasingly limiting the luxury use of water in rice cultivation. In this study, non-flooded mulching cultivation of rice only consumed a fraction of the water that was needed for traditional flooded cultivation and largely maintained the grain yield. We also investigated the growth and development of rice plants and examined grain yield formation when rice was subjected to non-flooded mulching cultivation. One indica hybrid rice combination was grown in a field experiment and three cultivation methods, traditional flooding (TF), non-flooded straw mulching cultivation (SM) and non-flooded plastic mulching cultivation (PM), were conducted during the whole season. Grain yield showed that there was no significant difference between SM and TF rice, but the grain yield of SM cultivation was significantly higher than that of PM. The tiller numbers were inhibited in the early stage under non-flooded mulching cultivation, but the situation was reversed at the later period. Both SM and PM rice reduced dry matter accumulation of shoot, but increased root dry weight, enhanced the remobilization of assimilates from stems to grains and increased the harvest index. During the middle and later grain filling period, mulched plants showed a faster decrease in chlorophyll concentrations, photosynthetic rates of flag leaves and root activity than TF rice, indicating that non-flooded mulching cultivation enhanced plant senescence. In comparison, SM treatment produced higher grain yield and, more dry matter accumulation and panicle numbers than the PM treatment. The overall results suggest that high yield of non-flooded mulching cultivation of rice can be achieved with much improved irrigational water use efficiency.
Abstract (Browse 2717)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
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