Co-ordination of hydraulic and stomatal conductances across light qualities in cucumber leaves

J Exp Bot. 2012 Feb;63(3):1135-43. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err348. Epub 2011 Nov 25.


Long-term effects of light quality on leaf hydraulic conductance (K(leaf)) and stomatal conductance (g(s)) were studied in cucumber, and their joint impact on leaf photosynthesis in response to osmotic-induced water stress was assessed. Plants were grown under low intensity monochromatic red (R, 640 nm), blue (B, 420 nm) or combined red and blue (R:B, 70:30) light. K(leaf) and g(s) were much lower in leaves that developed without blue light. Differences in g(s) were caused by differences in stomatal aperture and stomatal density, of which the latter was largely due to differences in epidermal cell size and hardly due to stomatal development. Net photosynthesis (A(N)) was lowest in R-, intermediate in B-, and highest in RB- grown leaves. The low A(N) in R-grown leaves correlated with a low leaf internal CO(2) concentration and reduced PSII operating efficiency. In response to osmotic stress, all leaves showed similar degrees of stomatal closure, but the reduction in A(N) was larger in R- than in B- and RB-grown leaves. This was probably due to damage of the photosynthetic apparatus, which only occurred in R-grown leaves. The present study shows the co-ordination of K(leaf) and g(s) across different light qualities, while the presence of blue in the light spectrum seems to drive both K(leaf) and g(s) towards high, sun-type leaf values, as was previously reported for maximal photosynthetic capacity and leaf morphology. The present results suggest the involvement of blue light receptors in the usually harmonized development of leaf characteristics related to water relations and photosynthesis under different light environments.

MeSH terms

  • Cucumis sativus / metabolism*
  • Cucumis sativus / radiation effects*
  • Light*
  • Photosynthesis / radiation effects
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / radiation effects*
  • Plant Stomata / metabolism*
  • Plant Stomata / radiation effects*
  • Plant Transpiration / drug effects