Comparative analysis of methods analyzing effects of drought on the herbaceous plant <i>Lablab purpureus<i/>


  • Sebastian Guretzki
  • Jutta Papenbrock Institute of Botany Leibniz University Hannover Herrenhäuserstr. 2 30419 Hannover Germany



Chlorophyll fluorescence, drought tolerance, growth parameter, infrared thermography, Lablab purpureus, stomatal conductance


Due to the changing climatic conditions, there is an enlargement of land areas with insufficient rainfall and therefore a reduction in the cultivated area for common crops. Hence, it is now important to find plants that are adapted to these drought conditions. The focus of our research was to apply and compare different methods to quantify the impact of drought stress on plants.

Lablab purpureus is considered to be drought tolerant. Therefore, we used L. purpureus genotypes from three continents CPI 36903 (Europe), CPI 52508 (Africa) and HA-4 (Asia) as examples for our study. All genotypes were screened for their tolerance to drought stress by various methods to obtain quantitative data on the drought stress tolerance of individual genotypes and to find out which methods are especially suitable for the measurement of drought tolerance. Classical methods such as leaf size, plant height, biomass, and plant water content were investigated. In addition, by chlorophyll fluorescence measurement effects of drought on the photosynthetic system were examined. Infrared thermography was used in order to make the changes in leaf temperature in plants stressed by drought compared to unstressed plants visible. The methods were complemented by the measurement of leaf conductivity.

Results indicate a difference in the usability of the methods for the determination of drought stress. Finally, a set of methods is assembled based on suitability for drought tolerance analysis in plants. The methods include classical growth parameters, including dry weight biomass, PWC and leaf area determination, as well as height measurements of the plants. The stomata behavior is analyzed by leaf conductivity and infrared thermography, both methods complete the set for drought tolerance identification.

Based on the results of these methods a ranking of the examined genotypes with respect to their drought tolerance is created.