Avocados (Persea americana Mill.) are one of the crops with the highest water footprints in Chile and the production is at risk due to severe and frequent droughts. The current production is mostly based on sexually (seed) propagated rootstocks, while clonally propagated rootstocks are on the rise. In a recent study, we found differences in aerial, root growth and water use efficiency between trees grown on these two different rootstocks under controlled continuous fertigation and environmental conditions. In this study, we further describe possible mechanisms which drive the differences. Avocado cv. “Hass” grafted on “Dusa” (D, clonally propagated) and “Mexicola” (M, sexually propagated) rootstocks and different root segments (3, 5 and 8 cm from root tip) were investigated using a combination of hydraulic measurements and polar metabolite (GC-MS) techniques. The results show significant differences in root hydraulic properties, indicating that “Mexicola” fine roots have higher water uptake capacity. The polar metabolites analysis revealed 13 compounds significantly different between rootstocks while nine were found significantly different among root segments. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed differences between rootstocks and root segments. The data presented here highlight the importance of considering key physiological knowledge in avocado rootstocks breeding programs to be better prepared for future challenging environmental conditions.
- Persea americana Mill. fine roots
- primary metabolites
- root tip
- tree roots
- water uptake