Stomatal movement in response to air humidity


Mechanisms of stomatal movement in response to air humidity, irradiance and xylem water potential.

by Nonami H., Schulze E.‐D., Ziegler H. (1990)

Lehrstuhl Pflanzenökologie, Universität Bayreuth, Postfach 101251, W-8580, Bayreuth, Germany.


in Planta 183, 57–64. – doi: 10.1007/BF00197567. – 

[PubMed] –


Turgor, and osmotic and water potentials of subsidiary cells, epidermal cells and mesophyll cells were measured with a pressure probe and a nanoliter osmometer in intact transpiring leaves of Tradescantia virginiana L.

Xylem water potential was manipulated by changing air humidity, light, and water supply. In a transpiring leaf the water potential of mesophyll cells was lower, but turgor was higher, than in cells surrounding the stomatal cavity owing to the presence of a cuticle layer which covers the internal surface of subsidiary and guard cells.

Cuticular transpiration from the outer leaf surface was negligibly small. When stomata closed in dry air, transpiration decreased despite an increasing vapor-pressure difference between leaf and air, and the water potential of subsidiary cells dropped to the level of the water potential in mesophyll cells.

We suggest that the observed decrease of transpiration at increasing vapor-pressure difference can be attributed to a shortage of water supply to the guard cells from subsidiary cells, causing turgor to decrease in the former more than in the latter. The leafs internal cuticle appears to play a special role in channelling the internal water flow during a water shortage.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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