CHANGES IN FRUIT YIELD AND PHOTOSYNTHESIS PARAMETERS IN DIFFERENT OLIVE CULTIVARS (Olea europaea L.) UNDER CON-TRASTING WATER REGIMES
The evergreen tree olive (Olea europaea L.) is the only species of the genus Olea that produces edible fruits with high ecological and economic value. This tree species has developed a series of physiochemical mechanisms to tolerate drought stress and grow under adverse climatic environments. One of these mechanisms is photosynthesis activities, so that as yet little information achieved about the relations between olive production and photosynthetic parameters under drought conditions. An experiment was carried out during two consecutive years (2015–2017) to study the response of 20 different olive tree cultivars (Olea europaea L.) to drought stress. Several parameters like net photosynthetic rate (PN), stomatal conductance (GS), transpiration rate (TE), photosynthetic pigments (total chlorophyll, chlorophyll a, b and carotenoid) and fruit yield were measured. The results of combined analysis of variance for fruit yield and other measured traits showed that year, drought treatment, cultivar main effects and their interactions were highly significant. The results indicated that drought stress reduced all traits, however GS (42.80%), PN (37.21%) and TE (37.17%) significantly affected by drought. Lower reduction in photosynthetic performance (PN, GS and TE) in the cultivar T7 compared to other olive cultivars allowed them to maintain better fruit yield. Principal component analysis (PCA) identified two PCs that accounted for 82.04 and 83.27% of the total variation in photosynthetic parameters under optimal and drought stress conditions, respectively. Taken together, mean comparison, relative changes due to drought and biplot analysis revealed that cultivars ‘T7’, ‘Roghani’, ‘Koroneiki’, ‘Korfolia’ and ‘Abou-satl’ displayed better response against drought stress. According to our results, one olive cultivar namely ‘T7’, could be used in olive breeding programs to improve new high yielding cultivars with drought tolerance for use in the drought-prone environments.
chlorophyll content; drought stress; fruit yield; olive; photosynthetic performance
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