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Carl-Otto Ottosen

Stress tolerant traits and root proliferation of Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f.) R. Dahlgren grown under differing moisture regimes and exposed to drought

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  • Dunja MacAlister, University of Cape Town
  • ,
  • A. Muthama Muasya, University of Cape Town
  • ,
  • Olivier Crespo, University of Cape Town
  • ,
  • John B.O. Ogola, University of Venda
  • ,
  • Sipho Maseko, Tshwane University of Technology
  • ,
  • Alex J. Valentine, University of Stellenbosch
  • ,
  • Carl Otto Ottosen
  • Eva Rosenqvist, Kobenhavns Universitet
  • ,
  • Samson B.M. Chimphango, University of Cape Town

In recent decades climate change has impacted ecosystems negatively globally with Mediterranean systems being particularly vulnerable. Changes in rainfall pattern and amounts have led to increases in flooding and droughts in certain areas of the world. Many important agricultural crops such as Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f.) R. Dahlgren, rooibos tea, rely on the Mediterranean-type seasonality in the Western Cape, South Africa. Aspalathus linearis plants, which occur naturally in the Cedarberg, grow in hot and dry summer conditions and have a root that penetrates the soil down to 2 m, yet no work has looked at the root response to drought under low rainfall environments. The objective of this study was to determine the physiological and morphological response of A. linearis plants grown at two different water regimes to drought. A potted glasshouse experiment was carried out where drought stress (withdrawing watering) was imposed on well-watered and low moisture supplied plants. The low moisture droughted plants exhibited drought tolerant mechanisms which included higher root/shoot ratios as well as thinner roots, both of which are effective for water and nutrient uptake. Overall, plants in the 30% FC treatment recorded lower Pmax, gs and E after three days in the drought conditions while 70% FC plants were only affected after five days. Furthermore, plants grown under low moisture conditions produced 50% lower biomass compared to plants grown under adequate moisture conditions. This implies that low rainfall and the occurrences of dry spells and drought, associated with climate change are likely to reduce the production of A. linearis in the Cederberg area.

TidsskriftSouth African Journal of Botany
Sider (fra-til)342-350
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2020

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