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Application of anti-transpirants temporarily alleviates the inhibition of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in drought-stressed pea plants

Aldasoro, Joseba, Larrainzar, Estíbaliz, Arrese-Igor, Cesar
Agricultural water management 2019 v.213 pp. 193-199
Pisum sativum, Rhizobium, amino acids, antitranspirants, bacteria, carbohydrates, drought, enzyme activity, enzyme inhibition, nitrogen, nitrogen fixation, nitrogenase, peas, photosynthesis, plant response, stomatal movement, symbiosis, transpiration, vapors, water stress
Stomatal closure is one of the first plant responses under a water deficit situation. This leads to a decline in transpiration but also in the plant photosynthetic activity. Legume plants grown under symbiosis with rhizobium bacteria present an inhibition of nitrogen fixation that has been shown to occur even before this of photosynthesis. One of the hypotheses to explain this rapid inhibition is the accumulation of nitrogen (N) compounds in nodules due to reduced transpiration, which would provoke the N-feedback inhibition of nitrogenase activity. The current work analyzes the effects of changes in transpiration rates in the regulation of nitrogen fixation through the application of the anti-transpirant Vapor Gard (VG) to pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants subjected to a progressive water deficit. VG produced a rapid inhibition of nitrogen fixation upon application. This inhibition, however, did not coincide with the accumulation of either amino acids or soluble carbohydrates observed at later drought stages in nodules. Results show that the application of VG has a beneficial, albeit temporary, effect in both maintaining the plant water status and apparent nitrogenase activity of nodulated pea plants under water-deficit conditions.