To determine the extent to which transpiration and Ca concentration in the nutrient solution affect the regulation of growth, two independent experiments with young tomato plants were carried out under fully controlled climate conditions and grown hydroponically. The first experiment consisted of the regulation of transpiration by three levels of relative air humidity (RH): 50%, 70% (control) and 95% (corresponding to 1.32, 0.79 and 0.13 kPa, respectively) during 7 days. The second experiment involved four periods of 1, 3, 7 or 14 days of low-calcium (0.5 meq L¿1) compared with the nutrient standard solution (9 meq L¿1). The results show that plant growth was affected more by RH than by the reduction of Ca in the nutrient solution. High humidity reduced the total plant dry matter and total leaf area, increasing the dry matter partitioning into the stems and reducing it into the leaves. However, the low-Ca supply did not affect those parameters. Plant Ca concentration was significantly reduced by low-Ca supply as well as by high RH, but to a much greater extent by the Ca supply than by high RH. Ca concentrations in leaves, stem, and roots were quickly reduced already after 1 day of low-Ca. After 14 days, Ca concentration in all plant organs (leaves, stems and roots) was reduced by approximately 70% compared to control plants. Our data show that calcium supply, and consequently Ca concentration in the tomato plant can be reduced drastically for short-term periods during the vegetative growth stage without any adverse effect on growth whilst higher humidity reduce both growth and Ca concentration in young vegetative tomato plants. Consequently, reduced Ca uptake at high air humidity is not the cause for the reduction in growth. Keywords: Calcium; Transpiration; Dry matter partitioning; Leaf expansion; Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.
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