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Optical measurement of stem xylem vulnerability


Brodribb, TJ and Carriqui Alcover, M and Delzon, S and Lucani, C, Optical measurement of stem xylem vulnerability, Plant Physiology, 174, (4) pp. 2054-2061. ISSN 1532-2548 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 American Society of Plant Biologists

DOI: doi:10.1104/pp.17.00552


The vulnerability of plant water transport tissues to a loss of function by cavitation during water stress is a key indicator of the survival capabilities of plant species during drought. Quantifying this important metric has been greatly advanced by non-invasive techniques that allow embolisms to be directly viewed in the vascular system. Here we present a new method for evaluating the spatial and temporal propagation of embolising bubbles in the stem xylem during imposed water stress. We demonstrate how the "optical method", previously used in leaves, can be adapted to measure the xylem vulnerability of stems. Validation of the technique is carried out by measuring the xylem vulnerability of 13 conifers and two short vesselled angiosperms and comparing results with measurements made using the "cavitron" centrifuge method. Very close agreement between the two methods confirms the reliability of the new optical technique, and opens the way to simple, efficient and reliable assessment of stem vulnerability using standard flatbed scanners, cameras or microscopes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:optical measurement, stem, xylem vulnerability
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
UTAS Author:Carriqui Alcover, M (Mr Marc Carriqui Alcover)
UTAS Author:Lucani, C (Mr Christopher Lucani)
ID Code:120254
Year Published:2017
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP140100666)
Web of Science® Times Cited:53
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2017-08-17
Last Modified:2020-03-20

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