The importance of nutritional regulation of plant water flux

Michael Cramer, H. Hawkins, G.A. Verboom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    192 Citations (Scopus)


    Transpiration is generally considered a wasteful but unavoidable consequence of photosynthesis, occurring because water is lost when stomata open for CO2 uptake. Additionally, transpiration has been ascribed the functions of cooling leaves, driving root to shoot xylem transport and mass flow of nutrients through the soil to the rhizosphere. As a consequence of the link between nutrient mass flow and transpiration, nutrient availability, particularly that of NO3 −, partially regulates plant water flux. Nutrient regulation of transpiration may function through the concerted regulation of: (1) root hydraulic conductance through control of aquaporins by NO3 −, (2) shoot stomatal conductance (g s) through NO production, and (3) pH and phytohormone regulation of g s. These mechanisms result in biphasic responses of water flux to NO3 − availability. The consequent trade-off between water and nutrient flux has important implications for understanding plant distributions, for production of water use-efficient crops and for understanding the consequences of global-change-linked CO2 suppression of transpiration for plant nutrient acquisition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-24
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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