The great social and economic importance of sugarcane makes it critical to understand the responses of the crop to adverse stress. This study was carried out to characterize the morpho-physiological index of sugarcane cultivated under different levels of water replacement with four replicates, corresponding to five levels of water replacement (100, 75, 50, 25 and 0% of soil humidity at field capacity) and either associated or not with a nitrogen source (100 kg ha-1 de N). Leaf area, leaf water potential, gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence were determined at different stages of plant development. Suboptimal maintenance of turgor pressure by water potential reduced the photosynthetically active area of sugarcane submitted to hydric deficit. A water replacement of 75% in association with nitrogen promoted optimal maintenance of the photosynthetic process.
Key words: Photosynthetic efficiency, nitrogen supply, water potential.
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