The endogenous concentrations of ACC and ABA were measured, at predawn and at maximum solar radiation, during a summer drought, and recovery after autumn rainfalls, in rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), a drought-tolerant species, growing under Mediterranean field conditions. During the summer, plants were subjected to both water deficit and high solar radiation. Plants showed severe reductions in shoot water potential to −3 MPa, which were associated with drastic stomatal closure (73%), a decrease in net photosynthesis, reaching almost zero, and a severe chlorophyll loss (74%). Despite the severity of the stress, plants recovered after the autumn rainfalls. The concentration of ACC was not enhanced by drought, and at predawn these concentrations remained constant at approximately 600 pmol ACC−1 DW throughout the experiment. Thus, ethylene did not regulate the response of rosemary to drought. However, a sharp increase in ACC levels between predawn and midday was observed. This increase was positively correlated to the intensity of the incident solar radiation. ACC levels recorded in June at midday reached 16 000 pmol g DW and in October values of 1000 pmol g−1 DW were observed. In contrast, in drought-stressed plants predawn concentrations of ABA were up to 130-fold those of recovered plants, and the levels of ABA scored at midday were double of those scored at predawn. In conclusion, although drought-stressed rosemary plants showed a relatively moderate ABA accumulation (approximately 500 pmol g−1 DW#, at predawn), it seems to be an essential factor for the regulation of the plant response to stress, thereby enabling a rapid recovery after stress release, although other mechanisms can not be excluded. As drought stress did not induce ACC accumulation, it was concluded that ethylene production was not a major factor in the drought stress resistance of rosemary plants. The increased ACC and ABA concentrations at midday were correlated with day length and light intensity and not with the water status of the plant.
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Document Type: Research Article
Departament de Biologia Vegetal, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Avinguda Diagonal 645, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain
Department of Biology, University of Antwerp (UIA), Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp, B-2610 Belgium
Publication date: March 1, 2002