This study was designed to investigate whether thermotolerant roots exhibit respiratory acclimation to elevated temperatures. Root respiratory acclimation traits in response to increasing temperatures were compared between two Agrostis species contrasting in heat tolerance: thermal A. scabra and heat-sensitive A. stolonifera. Roots of both species were exposed to 17, 27, or 37 degrees C. Root RGR declined with increasing temperatures from 17 degrees C to 37 degrees C in both species; however, root growth of A. scabra maintained a significantly higher RGR than A. stolonifera at 27 degrees C or 37 degrees C. A. scabra exhibited a significantly higher respiration acclimation potential to elevated temperatures, both in the short term (60 min) and in the long term (7-28 d) as compared with A. stolonifera, when temperatures increased from 17 degrees C to 27 degrees C or from 27 degrees C to 37 degrees C. Thermal A. scabra also maintained a significantly lower maintenance cost than A. stolonifera as temperatures increased to 27 degrees C or 37 degrees C. The results suggested that root thermotolerance of thermal A. scabra was associated with both short-term and long-term respiratory acclimation to changes in temperatures. The superior ability of adjusting the rate of root respiration to compensate for increases in carbon demand during short- or long-term temperature increases in the heat-tolerant A. scabra may result in the reduction in carbon expenditure or costs for maintenance, leading to extended root survivability in high temperature soils.
Rachmilevitch, S., Lambers, H., & Huang, B. (2008). Short-term and long-term root respiratory acclimation to elevated temperatures associated with root thermotolerance for two Agrostis grass species. Journal of Experimental Botany, 59(14), 3803-3809. https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/ern233