Table_2_Genotypic, Developmental and Environmental Effects on the Rapidity of gs in Wheat: Impacts on Carbon Gain and Water-Use Efficiency.DOCX
Stomata are the primary gatekeepers for CO2 uptake for photosynthesis and water loss via transpiration and therefore play a central role in crop performance. Although stomatal conductance (gs) and assimilation rate (A) are often highly correlated, studies have demonstrated an uncoupling between A and gs that can result in sub-optimal physiological processes in dynamic light environments. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is exposed to changes in irradiance due to leaf self-shading, moving clouds and shifting sun angle to which both A and gs respond. However, stomatal responses are generally an order of magnitude slower than photosynthetic responses, leading to non-synchronized A and gs responses that impact CO2 uptake and water use efficiency (iWUE). Here we phenotyped a panel of eight wheat cultivars (estimated to capture 80% of the single nucleotide polymorphism variation in North–West European bread wheat) for differences in the speed of stomatal responses (to changes in light intensity) and photosynthetic performance at different stages of development. The impact of water stress and elevated [CO2] on stomatal kinetics was also examined in a selected cultivar. Significant genotypic variation was reported for the time constant for stomatal opening (Ki, P = 0.038) and the time to reach 95% steady state A (P = 0.045). Slow gs opening responses limited A by ∼10% and slow closure reduced iWUE, with these impacts found to be greatest in cultivars Soissons, Alchemy and Xi19. A decrease in stomatal rapidity (and thus an increase in the limitation of photosynthesis) (P < 0.001) was found during the post-anthesis stage compared to the early booting stage. Reduced water availability triggered stomatal closure and asymmetric stomatal opening and closing responses, while elevated atmospheric [CO2] conditions reduced the time for stomatal opening during a low to high light transition, thus suggesting a major environmental effect on dynamic stomatal kinetics. We discuss these findings in terms of exploiting various traits to develop ideotypes for specific environments, and suggest that intraspecific variation in the rapidity of stomatal responses could provide a potential unexploited breeding target to optimize the physiological responses of wheat to dynamic field conditions.