Vulnerability of low temperature induced needle retention in balsam fir (Abies balsamae L.) to vapour pressure deficits.

Thiagarajan, A., Lada, R.R., Pepin, S., Forney, C.F., Desjardins, Y., and Dorais, M. (2016). "Vulnerability of low temperature induced needle retention in balsam fir (Abies balsamae L.) to vapour pressure deficits.", Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 31(1), pp. 1-7. doi : 10.1080/02827581.2015.1059484  Access to full text

Abstract

Low temperature (LT) exposure has been shown to delay postharvest needle abscission and senescence (NAS) in balsam fir and changes in vapor pressure deficit (VPD) are expected to alter these processes. Two and half year-old seedlings were exposed to a LT of 5°C for 15 days while the control (CT) group was maintained at 22°C. Seedlings were then exposed to four different VPD (0.22, 0.87, 1.3 and 1.86 kPa) and observed for relative water content (RWC), xylem pressure potential (XPP), membrane injury index (MII), stem capacitance (SC) and NAS. An interactive effect of LT and VPD was observed in RWC, XPP, MII and NAS. Low VPD (0.22 and 0.87 kPa) resulted in less negative XPP, lower electrolyte leakage, higher SC and ultimately higher NAS than those at high VPD. Maximum NAS was recorded at 0.22 kPa. At 1.86 kPa, LT had 5× lower RWC (13%), 3× more negative XPP (−1.1 MPa), 1.8× higher membrane damage and 35% lower NAS (47 days) than CT. The SC declined with an increase in VPD with no effect of LT. The XPP and RWC of LT seedlings showed a positive relationship with NAS with R2 values of 0.54 and 0.59, respectively. LT offered no benefits to NAS at high VPD environments.

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