Study the Changes of Some Water Relations and Net Photosynthesis of Three Iranian Melon Population (Cucumis melo) under Water Deficit Stress

Document Type : Research Article


1 Assistant professor Department of Horticulture Faculty of Agriculture Shahid bahonar university of Kerman

2 MS.c. Graduate. Department of Horticultural Science, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran


Drought stress is one of the most common environmental stresses that limits agricultural production through disruption of physiological processes and reduces plant performance. Since in most parts of the world, including in Iran, melon plants and generally pumpkins are cultivated in hot and dry areas, and in these areas the main challenge is due to the limitation of suitable water for agriculture, the possibility of various types of stress, including  water deficit stress (partial or severe) in the cultivation of these plants is relatively high. From this point of view, it seems necessary to study and know the tolerant cultivars and masses and ways to improve water management. Among the physiological characteristics, leaf water status, membrane stability, photosynthesis changes and related factors are of special importance in relation to tolerance of stressful conditions and especially dehydration. A review of scientific sources shows that due to the relative importance of melons among fruit vegetables, no comprehensive research has been done on the effect of water stress on the yield and stress level evaluation indicators in Garmak and Dudaim groups. This research has tried to investigate and evaluate this issue in some products of this group of vegetables that have been less studied.
Materials and Methods
This experiment was carried out in the form of a split plot design in the form of randomized complete blocks and in four replications in the Mahan greenhouse complex located 25 km from Kerman province. Experimental treatments include; There were three plants (Shahdad and Isfahan cantaloupe (Garmak) and Birjand dudaim (Cucumis melo group dudaim)) and three levels of irrigation in order to apply stress (starting irrigation at matric potentials of -45 (control), -55 and -65 kPa). The parameters of net photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance, leaf transpiration rate, leaf chlorophyll index, water potential, osmosis and turgor potential of leaves, water use efficiency and leaf relative humidity were measured and evaluated.
Results and Discussion
Based on the results of the first and third tables, the three population were different in the changes in the net rate of photosynthesis under different levels of dehydration stress, but the change process in them was largely similar. The highest rate of net photosynthesis and leaf stomatal conductance was obtained in Isfahan cantaloupe population plants under control irrigation (-45 kPa), which, of course, did not have a significant difference with plants under -55 kPa dehydration stress, and the lowest rate of these traits in Birjand dudaim under irrigation at matric potential -65 kPa was measured. A more severe level of dehydration stress (starting irrigation at matric potential of -65 kPa) reduced the net photosynthetic rate in all three plants compared to control irrigation (-45 kPa). It seems that under the conditions of this experiment, the reduction of the relative humidity of the leaves occurs following the reduction of the water potential in the leaves and leads to the closing of the stomata in order to increase the resistance of the mesophyll cells against the dehydration stress and parallel to these changes, the reduction it happens in the amount of stomatal conductance and as a result the rate of net photosynthesis. The rate of leaf transpiration in matric potentials of -55 and -65 kPa has decreased significantly compared to control irrigation. The decrease in transpiration rate in plants under stress is probably due to stomatal closure and reduction of stomatal conductance. Plants under stress prevent excessive water loss through transpiration by regulating stomata. Based on the results of the second and fourth tables, by measuring the water potential, osmosis and turgor potential of the leaves of the three population used, it was shown that the water potential of the leaf decreased with the increase in the water stress levels. The slope of this decrease is such that the potential values are equal to the osmotic potential values of the leaf and the turgor potential, which is the result of the difference between the osmotic and water potentials of the leaf, also decreases, but it is the turgor pressure that has increased and in a more positive way. even at the end of the stress period and at the most extreme level of stress, it reaches zero. This same turgor pressure maintains the normal state of the membrane in cells under dehydration stress. In fact, the extreme level of water stress in this experiment significantly reduced the osmotic potential of the leaf. The highest amount of osmotic potential (8.5 Bar) for these plants was obtained in the usual or control irrigation treatment and the lowest (22 Bar) in the more severe level of dehydration stress treatment (watering as soon as the matric potential reaches -65 kPa) was obtained. At matric potentials of -45 and -55, there was no significant difference between the three population in terms of leaf relative humidity percentage, but in Garmak and Dudaim populations, the relative humidity of leaves was significantly reduced by applying stress at the matric potential of -65 kPa. This is despite the fact that in the Isfahan cantaloupe, the decrease in the relative humidity of the leaf was not significant. The existence of this difference in the reduction of the relative humidity of the leaves in the conditions of stress between the three plants may be due to the genetic differences in the ability of the stomata of the plants to lose water. In fact, more drought tolerant population (Isfahan Garmak) compared to Shahdad Garmak and Birjand dudaim have better maintained relative humidity until the end of the stress. 
Plants with the ability to regulate osmosis can be considered as drought tolerant plants. This adjustment in the plants of this experiment occurred in the condition that in all three population, the osmotic potential decreased by -19 to -22 Bar. This event is to some extent guaranteeing the performance of pure photosynthesis, although at a low rate in these plants, in the condition that the water potential of the cell has become negative at the level of severe water deficit stress, at the end of growth.


Main Subjects

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  • Receive Date: 25 September 2022
  • Revise Date: 30 December 2022
  • Accept Date: 31 December 2022
  • First Publish Date: 31 December 2022