Water-deficit is an important factor limiting the fiber yield, globally. In order to evaluate the effects of water stress on ramie (Boehmeria nivea L.), a pot experiment was carried out in a rain-protected wire-house at Chongqing, China. Ramie plants were subjected to 4 varying watering regimes (well-watered, mild, moderate and severe drought stress) at flourishing stage for 10, 15 and 20 days. After imposition of the treatments, the alteration in growth, yield, gas exchange and chlorophyll contents were assessed. Results indicated that all stress treatments promoted a substantial decrease in net photosynthetic rate (A), stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration rate (E). However, intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) initially decreased under mild and moderate stress and increased in severe drought stress while intrinsic water use efûciency (WUEi) changed in opposite direction. The variation in gas exchange attributes indicated the decreased photosynthetic activity under mild and moderate stress pertaining to stomatal mechanisms while under severe drought due to non-stomatal mechanisms. In addition, decreased photosynthetic activity inhibited the growth of plants and led to severe decline in raw fiber yield. A continuous reduction in plant height, stem diameter, leaf area and plant biomass was observed as well as bast thickness and bast fresh weight. Nonetheless, progressive water stress led to a continuous loss of photosynthetic pigment concentrations. In summary, water stress decreased chlorophyll synthesis, gas exchange and growth and yield of ramie plants, but the extent of these variations was closely related with the intensity, severity and duration of the drought event and their interaction.
Online ISSN: 1459-0263Year: 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 1, pages 302-305. Publisher: WFL.
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