Grapevine acclimation to water deficit: the adjustment of stomatal and hydraulic conductance differs from petiole embolism vulnerability

Uri Hochberg, Andrea Giulia Bonel, Rakefet David-Schwartz, Asfaw Degu, Aaron Fait, Hervé Cochard, Enrico Peterlunger, Jose Carlos Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Main conclusion: Drought-acclimated vines maintained higher gas exchange compared to irrigated controls under water deficit; this effect is associated with modified leaf turgor but not with improved petiole vulnerability to cavitation. A key feature for the prosperity of plants under changing environments is the plasticity of their hydraulic system. In the present research we studied the hydraulic regulation in grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) that were first acclimated for 39 days to well-watered (WW), sustained water deficit (SD), or transient—cycles of dehydration–rehydration—water deficit (TD) conditions, and then subjected to varying degrees of drought. Vine development under SD led to the smallest leaves and petioles, but the TD vines had the smallest mean xylem vessel and calculated specific conductivity (kts). Unexpectedly, both the water deficit acclimation treatments resulted in vines more vulnerable to cavitation in comparison to WW, possibly as a result of developmental differences or cavitation fatigue. When exposed to drought, the SD vines maintained the highest stomatal (gs) and leaf conductance (kleaf) under low stem water potential (Ψs), despite their high xylem vulnerability and in agreement with their lower turgor loss point (ΨTLP). These findings suggest that the down-regulation of kleaf and gs is not associated with embolism, and the ability of drought-acclimated vines to maintain hydraulic conductance and gas exchange under stressed conditions is more likely associated with the leaf turgor and membrane permeability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1104
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Drought acclimation
  • Osmotic adjustment
  • Turgor
  • Vulnerability to cavitation
  • Water stress
  • Xylem architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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