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Xylem cavitation and embolism in plants living in water-limited ecosystems

Abstract : Water deficit is considered the main limiting factor for the establishment, survival, and growth of plants mainly in water-limited ecosystems. Plants have evolved a wide range of morphologic and functional mechanisms to adapt to arid environments. However, if the tension in the xylem conduits becomes too high, thus xylem cavitation can occur i.e., water column breakage. This results in the hydraulic disconnection of leaves and above-ground parts fromroots because xylemconduits are filledwith air and water vapor, and this phenomenon is called embolism. Therefore, the resistance of the xylem to cavitation andembolism is of paramount importance for plant functioning. In this chapter, we will review the role of plant hydraulics and xylem cavitation in the context of water-limited ecosystems and their relationship with other plant functional traits and with survival capacity. These topics will be analyzed and discussed on the basis of current knowledge and our research experiences.
Mots-clés : XYLEM CAVITATION EMBOLISM
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Alberto A. Vilagrosa, Esteban E. Chirino, Jose-Javier J.-J. Peguero-Pina, Tete Severien T. S. Barigah, Hervé H. Cochard, et al.. Xylem cavitation and embolism in plants living in water-limited ecosystems. Plant responses to drought stress, Springer, 466 p., 2012, 978-3-642-32652-3. ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-32653-0_3⟩. ⟨hal-00964859⟩

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