Soil Water Potentials and Capsicum annuum L. under Salinity


Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo




ABSTRACT Investigations into water potentials in the soil-plant system are of great relevance in environments with abiotic stresses, such as salinity and drought. An experiment was developed using bell pepper in a Neossolo Flúvico (Fluvent) irrigated with water of six levels of electrical conductivity (0, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 dS m-1) by using exclusively NaCl and by simulating the actual condition (using a mixture of salts). The treatments were arranged in a randomized block design, in a 6 × 2 factorial arrangement, with four replicates. Soil matric (Ψm) and osmotic (Ψo) potentials were determined 70 days after transplanting (DAT). Soil total potential was considered as the sum of Ψm and Ψo. Leaf water (obtained with the Scholander Chamber) and osmotic potentials were determined before sunrise (predawn) and at noon at 42 and 70 DAT. There were no significant differences between the salt sources used in the irrigation water for soil and plant water potentials. The supply of salts to the soil through irrigation water was the main factor responsible for the decrease in Ψo in the soil and in bell pepper leaves. The total potential of bell pepper at predawn reached values of -1.30 and -1.33 MPa at 42 and 70 DAT, respectively, when water of 9 dS m-1 was used in the irrigation. The total potential at noon reached -2.19 MPa. The soil subjected to the most saline treatment reached a water potential of -1.20 MPa at 70 DAT. There was no predawn equilibrium between the total water potentials of the soil and the plant, indicating that soil potential cannot be considered similar to that of the plant. The determination of the osmotic potential in the soil solution should not be neglected in saline soils, since it has strong influence on the calculation of the total potential.

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