Stomatal behavior and high relative air humidity.


Photo credit: Google

Tradescantia virginiana

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

by Rezaei Nejad A., Van Meeteren U. (2005)

Abdolhossein Rezaei Nejad, Uulke Van Meeteren

Wageningen University, Marijkeweg 22, 6709 PG, Wageningen, the Netherlands

in Physiol. Plant. 125(3): 324-332 –DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2005.00567.x –

(CrossRef) –


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.

Stomatal behaviour in moderate or high relative air humidity


Dynamics of adaptation of stomatal behaviour to moderate or high relative air humidity in Tradescantia virginiana.

by Rezaei Nejad A., Van Meeteren U. (2008)


in J. Exp. Bot. 59(2): 289-301 – DOI: –

(CrossRef,Medline) –


Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging was used to measure stomatal closure in response to desiccation of Tradescantia virginiana leaves grown under high (90%) and moderate (55%) relative humidities (RHs), or transferred between these humidities.

Stomata in leaves grown at high RH were less responsive to desiccation than those of leaves grown at moderate RH. Stomata of plants transferred from moderate RH conditions to high RH showed the same diminished closure in response to desiccation as did stomata that developed at high RH. This response was found both when the leaves were fully expanded and when still actively expanding during the moderate RH pre-treatment.

Four days of exposure to high RH was the minimal exposure time to induce the diminished closure response. When leaves were grown in high RH prior to a 10 d moderate RH treatment, the reduced stomatal closure response to desiccation was only reversed in leaves (regions) which were actively expanding during moderate RH treatment. This indicates that with respect to stomatal responses to desiccation, high RH leaf regions have a limited capacity to adapt to moderate RH conditions.

The decrease in responsiveness to desiccation of the stomata, induced by long-term exposure to high RH, was not due to osmotic adjustment in the leaves. Within 1 d after transferring moderate RH-grown plants to a high RH, the abscisic acid (ABA) concentration of their leaves decreased to the low level of ABA found in high RH-grown leaves.

The closure response in leaves exposed to high RH for 5 d, however, could not be fully restored by the application of ABA. Transferring plants from high to moderate RH resulted in increased ABA levels within 2 d without a recovery of the stomatal closing response.

It is discussed that the diminished stomatal closure in plants exposed to high RH could be due to changes in the signalling pathway for ABA-related closure of stomata or to an increased sequestration of ABA by mesophyll tissue or the symplast in the epidermis, induced by a longer period (several days) of a low ABA level.