Coffee plants respond to drought and elevated [CO2] through changes in stomatal function, plant hydraulic conductance, and aquaporin expression

Rodrigo T. Avila, Amanda A. Cardoso, Wellington L. de Almeida, Lucas C. Costa, Kleiton L. G. Machado, Marcela L. Barbosa, Raylla P. B. de Souza, Leonardo A. Oliveira, Diego S. Batista, Samuel C. V. Martins, José D. C. Ramalho, Fábio M. DaMatta

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Rising air CO2 concentration ([CO2]) is believed to mitigate the negative impacts of global climate changes such as increased air temperatures and drought events on plant growth and survival. Nonetheless, how elevated [CO2] affects the way coffee (Coffea arabica L.) plants sense and respond to drought remains a critical unknown. In this study, potted coffee plants were cultivated under two air [CO2] (ca. 400 ppm or 700 ppm) in open top chambers under greenhouse conditions. After a 5-month exposure to [CO2] treatments, plants were submitted to a progressive, controlled soil water deficit down to 20 % soil field capacity. Under well-watered (100 % field capacity) conditions, 700-plants displayed lower whole-plant transpiration rates (T) than their 400-counterparts. Changes in T were unrelated to stomatal conductances at the leaf scale (as well as stomatal morphology) or foliar ABA levels, but they were rather associated with faster stomata closure rates upon rapid increases in vapor pressure deficit in the 700-plants. During drought, 700-plants were able to maintain higher water potentials and plant hydraulic conductances for longer in parallel to higher T than their 400-counterparts. Under elevated [CO2], the faster stomatal closure rates (irrigated conditions) or the maintenance of plant hydraulic conductances (drought conditions) were associated with higher (3 to 40-fold) transcript abundance of most aquaporin genes. Altogether, our results suggest that elevated [CO2] has marked implications on how coffee plants respond to soil water deficit, ultimately permitting 700-plants to have improved fitness under drought when compared to 400-plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104148
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Aquaporin
  • Coffea arabica
  • Elevated [CO]
  • Hydraulic conductance
  • Stomatal response
  • Whole-plant transpiration


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