Critical evaluation of methods for measurements of water use and water use efficiency

Workshop in Pargue, 15-16th of July 2014

Agriculture accounts for 80–90% of all freshwater used on a global scale. The relation between carbon uptake, plant growth and water loss determine the water use by crops. Improvements in agronomic and physiological understanding of these processes have already led to increased water productivity of crops under different scenarios. However, there is still substantial demand to increase this productivity and linking molecular genetic approaches with environmental physiology provides a promising road to achieve this goal. In this context screening for plants with improved water use or increased water use efficiency is essential for application in plant breeding.

This workshop aimed to define the status, current limitations and future steps for the methods used to assess water use (WU) and water use efficiency (WUE). An essential part in WUE research is the diverse, often “incompatible” definition/target from physiology (single leaf), to breeding scenarios (heritability) at the plant stand and agronomic levels. Thus, this workshop focused on the integration between scales including practical considerations for both controlled environment and field experiments.

To address these important issues, the workshop enabled and stimulated a discussion between experts from different fields, which are closely related to WU and WUE such as:

1. Breeding for WU/WUE

2. WU/WUE in agronomy/field management

3. Measuring WUE

4. Effect of soil/roots on WUE

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