- Tingting Liu initiates her research at IAPN on magnesium and drought stress
Tingting Liu joined IAPN as a PhD student in November 2020. Her PhD project is entitled “Effects of magnesium (Mg) status on photosynthetic efficiency and water-use efficiency in wheat suffering from drought”. It is supervised by Professor Dr. Klaus Dittert. Since her arrival, Tingting Liu has been preparing the experimental work and learning methodologies already established at IAPN.
Her experimental work in the first year of PhD involves an experiment on wheat with different Mg supply regimes and osmotic stress induced by the compound polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG). The addition of PEG to the nutrient solution reduces the osmotic potential of the solution, leading to difficulties for the plants to take up enough water and thus simulating drought stress.
To determine the appropriate level of osmotic stress under the given growth conditions and to analyse the response of the plants, Tingting Liu began her experimental work with a preliminary study in March 2021. To assess the osmotic potential of the nutrient solution, she measured the nutrient solution with an osmometer. During plant growth, she assessed in-vivo photosynthesis rates, transpiration rates and stomatal conductance by gas exchange measurements, and photosynthetic performance by measuring chlorophyll a fluorescence and pigment concentrations using the leafclip sensor “Dualex”.
After the analysis of her first data, Tingting Liu will proceed with the main experiment, with different levels of Mg and PEG based on the results of the pre-experiment. The main experiment will be conducted in summer 2021. It will address the research question of how Mg nutrition affects water-use efficiency and to what extent it can help alleviate drought stress.
“I am looking forward to my first PhD year, where I will certainly learn many methods and get first interesting results. The wheat plants have responded to the treatments as expected, so now I can plan the next experiment precisely and investigate the research question in detail”, says Tingting Liu.