Absorbed energy in excess of that used by photosynthesis induces photoinhibition, which is common in water deficit conditions, resulting in reductions in stomatal conductance. In grapevines, controlled water deficit is a common field practice, but little is known about the impact of a given water shortage on the energy transduction processes at the leaf level in relation to contrasting stomatal sensitivities to drought. Here, we assessed the effect of a nearly similar water deficit condition on four grapevine varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (CS) and Sauvignon Blanc (SB), which are stomatal sensitive, and Chardonnay (CH) and Carménère (CM), which are less stomatal sensitive, grown in 20 L pots outdoors. Plants were maintained to nearly 94% of field capacity (WW) and 83% field capacity (WD). We have assessed plant water status, photosynthesis (AN ), photorespiration, AN vs. PAR, ACi curves, photochemical (qP) and non-photochemical (qN) fluorescence quenching vs. PAR, the photoprotective effectiveness of NPQ (qPd) and light interception by leaves. Photorespiration is important under WD, but to a different extent between varieties. This is related to stomatal sensitivity, maintaining a safe proportion of PSII reaction centres in an open state. Additionally, the capacity for carboxylation is affected by WD, but to a greater extent in more sensitive varieties. As for qN, in WD it saturates at 750 µmol PAR m−2 s−1, irrespective of the variety, which coincides with PAR, from which qN photoprotective effectiveness declines, and qP is reduced to risky thresholds. Additionally, that same PAR intensity is intercepted by WD leaves from highly stomatal-sensitive varieties, likely due to a modification of the leaf angle in those plants. Pigments associated with qN, as well as chlorophylls, do not seem to be a relevant physiological target for acclimation.
- light interception
- water stress