Photosynthetic and enzymatic metabolism of Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi seedlings under water deficit

<div><p>ABSTRACT Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi is a tree species that can be used in the recovery of degraded areas, as it exhibits rapid growth and has a very expansive root system, facilitating water uptake from the deeper layers of the soil. The objective of this study was to evaluate photosynthesis and enzymatic activity in S. terebinthifolius seedlings under conditions of water deficit and their potential to recover following re-irrigation. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse under a plastic covering where plants were distributed into two groups: Group 1 - control plants, where irrigation was maintained at 70% of the water retention capacity, and Group 2 - stressed plants, where irrigation was suspended until the photosynthetic rate neared zero, followed by rehydration for 12 days, then a further suspension of irrigation. At the beginning of the experiment and during the suspension of irrigation and rehydration, plants were evaluated for gas and antioxidant enzyme exchanges. Hydric stress significantly reduced photosynthesis, stomatal transpiration conductance, carboxylation efficiency of Rubisco, and the chlorophyll content of the S. terebinthifolius plants. Following rehydration, plants recovered the carboxylation efficiency of Rubisco, but not the photosynthetic rate. Antioxidant enzyme activity increased in both the aerial part and the root in response to water deficit.</p></div>