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Waterlogging induces alterations in cucumber ( Cucumis sativus L.) photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, and responses to CO 2 and light intensity.
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  • Omolayo Olorunwa,
  • Bikash Adhikari,
  • Skyler Brazel,
  • Sorina Popescu,
  • George Popescu,
  • T. Casey Barickman
Omolayo Olorunwa
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Verona MS 38879 USA

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Bikash Adhikari
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Verona MS 38879 USA
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Skyler Brazel
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Verona MS 38879 USA
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Sorina Popescu
Mississippi State University Department of Biochemistry Molecular Biology Entomology and Plant Pathology
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George Popescu
Mississippi State University Institute for Genomics Biocomputing and Biotechnology
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T. Casey Barickman
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Verona MS 38879 USA
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Abstract

Waterlogging induces growth and developmental changes in sensitive crops such as cucumber ( Cucumis sativus L.) during early plant development. However, information on the physiological mechanisms underpinning the response of cucumber plants to waterlogging conditions is limited. Here, we investigated the effects of 10-day waterlogging stress on the morphology, photosynthesis, and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters in two cultivars of cucumber seedlings. Waterlogging stress hampered cultivars’ growth, biomass accumulation, and photosynthetic capacity. Both cultivars also developed adventitious roots (ARs) after 10 days of waterlogging (DOW). We observed differential responses in the light- and carbon-dependent reactions of photosynthesis, with an increase in light-dependent reactions. At the same time, carbon assimilation was considerably inhibited by waterlogging. Specifically, the CO 2 assimilation rate ( A) in leaves was significantly reduced and was caused by a corresponding decrease in stomatal conductance (g s). The downregulation of the maximum rate of Rubisco (V cmax) and the maximum rate of photosynthetic electron transport (J max) were non-stomatal limiting factors contributing to A reduction. Exposure of cucumber to 10 DOW affected the PSII photochemistry by downregulating the PSII quantum yield (Φ PSII). The redox state of the primary quinone acceptor in the lake model (1-qL), a measure of the regulatory balance of the light reactions, became more oxidized after 10 DOW, indicating enhanced electron sink capacity despite a reduced A. Overall, the results suggest that waterlogging induces alterations in the photochemical apparatus efficiency of cucumber. Thus, developing cultivars that resist photodamage while maintaining PSII photochemistry is a potential approach for increasing crops’ tolerance to waterlogged environments.