Contrasting Phaseolus Crop Water Use Patterns and Stomatal Dynamics in Response to Terminal Drought

Front Plant Sci. 2022 May 31;13:894657. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.894657. eCollection 2022.


Terminal drought stress affects more than half of the areas planted with common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), the main food legume globally, generating severe yield losses. Phenotyping water deficit responses and water use are central strategies to develop improved terminal drought resilience. The exploration and exploitation of genetic diversity in breeding programs are gaining importance, with a particular interest in related species with great adaptation to biotic and abiotic factors. This is the case with tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius), a bean that evolved and was domesticated in arid conditions and is considered well adapted to drought and heat stress. Under greenhouse conditions, using one genotype of tepary beans (resistant to drought) and two of common beans (one resistant and one susceptible to terminal drought), we evaluated phenotypic differences in traits such as water use efficiency (WUE), transpiration efficiency, rate of photosynthesis, photosynthetic efficiency, stomatal density, stomatal index, stomatal size, and the threshold for transpiration decline under well-watered and terminal drought conditions. Our results indicate two different water use strategies in drought-resistant genotypes: one observed in common bean aimed at conserving soil water by closing stomata early, inhibiting stomatal development, and limiting growth; and the other observed in tepary bean, where prolonged stomatal opening and higher carbon fixation, combined with no changes in stomata distribution, lead to higher biomass accumulation. Strategies that contribute to drought adaptation combined with other traits, such as greater mobilization of photoassimilates to the formation of reproductive structures, confer bean drought resistance and are useful targets in breeding programs.

PMID:35712594 | PMC:PMC9194640 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2022.894657


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