Effects of Superhydrophobic Sand Mulching on Evapotranspiration and Phenotypic Responses in Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) under Normal and Reduced Irrigation
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE) Division
Environmental Science and Engineering Program
Water Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC)
KAUST Grant NumberBAS/1/1070-01-01.
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/673028
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AbstractIrrigated agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions is a vital contributor to the global food supply; however, these regions endure massive evaporative losses that are compensated by unsustainable freshwater withdrawals. Plastic mulches have been used to curtail evaporation, improve water-use efficiency, and ensure food and water security, but they are non-biodegradable and their disposal is unsustainable. We recently developed superhydrophobic sand (SHS), which comprises sand grains with a nanoscale wax coating that could offer a more sustainable mulching solution. Here, the effects of adding a 1.0 cm-thick layer of SHS mulch on the evapotranspiration and phenotypic responses of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants are studied under normal and reduced irrigation. Under both irrigation regimes, SHS mulching suppressed evaporation and enhanced transpiration by 78% and 17%, respectively relative to the bare soil. Overall, SHS mulching enhanced root xylem vessel diameter, stomatal aperture, stomatal conductance, and chlorophyll content index by 21%, 25%, 28%, and 23%, respectively. Total fruit yields, total dry mass, and harvest index increased in SHS-mulched plants by 33%, 20%, and 16%, respectively than in bare soil. These findings demonstrate the potential of SHS to boost irrigation efficiency in water-limited environments and provide mechanistic insights behind yield enhancement by SHS mulching.
CitationOdokonyero, K., Junior, A. G., Dos Santos, V., & Mishra, H. (2021). Effects of Superhydrophobic Sand Mulching on Evapotranspiration and Phenotypic Responses in Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) under Normal and Reduced Irrigation. doi:10.1101/2021.10.26.465960
SponsorsThis research was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology under the award number BAS/1/1070-01-01.
The co-authors would like to thank the assistance of the following staff of KAUST Plant Growth Core Labs Facilities: Dr. Richard Soppe, Dr. Muppala, and Mr. John E. Rahmer.
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory