Plant water relations, Calcium transport and distribution in the whole plant, Photosynthesis and stomatal conductance, Irrigation scheduling based on physiological parameters.
- Internal and external factors that control oscillation of stomata conductance in banana leaves.
- Simplistic versus Apoplectic pathway of water and solute transport within leaves.
- Regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) of grape wins: effects on yield and wine quality.
- Photosynthetic and photoprotective adaptation of date palm leaves to water quality and extreme temperatures.
- Prevention of degeneration and die out of fruit tree orchards irrigated with recycled treated wastewater.
Applied research project: Irrigation of orchards using the regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) method
Efficient irrigation requires precise information on crop water consumption to ensure the correct scheduling and quantity of water and fertilizer to be applied. In recent years, research done by my group has focused on developing irrigation models based on physiological parameters, to serve as guidelines for the planning of efficient orchard irrigation programs. Our research is guided by the hypothesis that by skilled planning of irrigation, growers can increase fruit yield and fruit quality while maintaining a high level of water-use efficiency.
Basic research project: Water and solute transport in leaves
In banana leaves, the transport of water and solutes from the xylem of the veins to the mesophyll and epidermis is mediated by vascular bundle sheath tissue, which is analogous to the endodermis of the root. The results of a study of the mode of ion distribution in the lamina of banana leaves led to the conclusion that the symplast, not the apoplast is the main pathway for the transport of water and solutes from the leaf xylem toward the mesophyll and epidermis.
We have proposed a model that explains the accumulation of Na+ and boron in the laminar margins of banana leaves, suggesting a role for the bundle sheath tissue of the laminar veins in the "active filtration" of the xylem sap, in order to prevent toxic concentrations of ions from reaching the photosynthetic tissue. Boron, manganase and other ions that are toxic to the photosynthetic tissue at high concentrations are effectively confined to the vascular system, to be disposed of in the tissue of the lamina margin or to be released from the lamina by guttation during the night.