Water stress permanently alters shoot architecture in common bean plants

Angelica Durigon*, Jochem Evers, Klaas Metselaar, Quirijn de Jong van Lier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of water stress on crop yield through modifications of plant architecture are vital to crop performance such as common bean plants. To assess the extent of this effect, an outdoor experiment was conducted in which common bean plants received five treatments: fully irrigated, and irrigation deficits of 30% and 50% applied in flowering or pod formation stages onwards. Evapotranspiration, number and length of pods, shoot biomass, grain yield and harvest index were assessed, and architectural traits (length and thickness of internodes, length of petioles and petiolules, length and width of leaflet blades and angles) were recorded and analyzed using regression models. The highest irrigation deficit in the flowering stage had the most pronounced effect on plant architecture. Stressed plants were shorter, leaves were smaller and pointing downward, indicating that plants permanently altered their exposure to sunlight. The combined effect of irrigation deficit and less exposure to light lead to shorter pods, less shoot biomass and lower grain yield. Fitted empirical models between water deficit and plant architecture can be included in architectural simulation models to quantify plant light interception under water stress, which, in turn, can supply crop models adding a second order of water stress effects on crop yield simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019


  • Dummy-variable regression
  • Functional-structural plant modeling
  • Phyllochron
  • Plant development
  • Plant organ


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