High relative air humidity (RH) and stomatal behaviour



Stomatal response characteristics of Tradescantia virginiana grown at high relative air humidity

by Nejad A. R., van Meeteren U. (2005)

Abdolhossein Rezaei Nejad, Horticultural Production Chains Group, Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, Marijkeweg 22, 6709 PG, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Uulke Van Meeteren

in Physiologia Plantarum 125(3): 324 – 332 –



Plants produced at high relative air humidity (RH) show poor control of water loss after transferring to low RH, a phenomenon which is thought to be due to their stomatal behaviour.

The stomatal anatomy and responses of moderate (55%) and high (90%) RH grown Tradescantia virginiana plants to treatments that normally induce stomatal closure, i.e. desiccation, abscisic acid (ABA) application and exposure to darkness were studied using attached or detached young, fully expanded leaves.

Compared with plants grown at moderate RH the transpiration rate, stomatal conductance and aperture of high RH grown plants measured at the same condition (40% RH) were, respectively, 112, 139 and 132% in light and 141, 188 and 370% in darkness.

Besides the differences in stomatal size (guard cell length was 56.7 and 73.3 µm for moderate and high RH grown plants, respectively), there was a clear difference in stomatal behaviour.

The stomata responded to desiccation, ABA and darkness in both moderate and high RH grown plants, but the high variability of stomatal closure in high RH grown plants was striking.

Some stomata developed at high RH closed in response to darkness or to a decrease in relative water content to the same extent as did stomata from moderate RH grown plants, whereas others closed only partly or did not close at all.

Evidently, some as yet unidentified physiological or anatomical changes during development disrupt the normal functioning of some stomata in leaves grown at high RH.

The failure of some stomata to close fully in response to ABA suggests that ABA deficiency was not responsible for the lack of stomatal closure in response to desiccation.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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

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