American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2011, 2, 354-358
doi:10.4236/ajps.2011.23040 Published Online September 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. AJPS
Effect of Kaolin Film Particle Applications
(Surround WP®) and Water Deficit on
Physiological Characteristics in Rose
Cut Plants (Rose spp L.)
Yuly Marcela Sotelo-Cuitiva, Hermann Restrepo-Díaz*, Alexandra García-Castro,
Augusto Ramírez-Godoy, Victor Julio Flórez-Roncancio
Faculty of Agronomy, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
Email: *
Received May 7th, 2011; revised June 10th, 2011; accepted July 17th, 2011.
The effect of foliar applica tions of a kaolin clay particle film (Surround WP) on leaf temperature (Tlf), chlorophyll fl uo-
rescence (Fv/Fm), shoot length, production and water relations in well-irrigated and water-stressed rose cut plants
(Rose spp) were studied during ten weeks. Plants were sprayed twice at first and fifth week a fter the experiment star ted
with aqueous suspensions of Kaolin (Surround) at a dose of 5% (w/v). The interaction between Kaolin applica tions an d
water status did not showed significances. Water stress decreased the stomatal conductance (gs), leaf water content
(LWC), shoot length and the number of marketable floral stems. Kaolin sprays did not affect on SPAD readings, chlo-
rophyll fluorescence, gs, LWC and shoot length. Kaolin reduced leaf temperature by 2.5˚C approximately at midday
compared to plants non-sprayed with kao lin. These results show that kaolin foliar applicatio ns could be considered an
useful tool at early growth stage in improving rose plant acclimation to high temperatures levels under greenhouse
conditions in trop ical regions.
Keywords: Surround WP, Leaf Water Content, Stomatal Conductance, Leaf Temperature, Shoot Length
1. Introduction
Rose is one of the main ornamental plants in the world
[1], being Colombia the first roses-producing country in
Latin American and the second roses-exporting country
in the world with a exportation of 59,499 tons of rose for
cutflower during 2009 [2].
Temperatures are often higher than optimal in orna-
mental production systems. This situation may stress
plants, causing a reduction of quality and/or yield of or-
namental crops [3]. The high solar radiation and tem-
peratures cause high rates of plant water loss and plants
regularly show symptoms of burn or withering in leaves
or fruits [4]. In Colombia, it is common find high tem-
peratures (above 35˚C) in greenhouses during dry season
(period of time without rains) or the Niño phenomenon
[5]. High temperatures may reduce flower quality be-
cause of excessive plant transpiration and respiration [6].
On the other hand, low leaf water content causes nega-
tive effect on leaf area, CO2 assimilation rate, stomatal
conductance and yield in rose plants [7]. To diminish the
negative influence of water and heat stress on plant
physiology and productivity, particle film applications
such as kaolin have been used [8]. Kaolin cools tissues
and protects plants from extreme heat and ultraviolet
radiation by increasing leaf reflectance and reducing
transpiration rate [9,10].
Kaolin has been tested in different horticultural crops
and its response has been heterogeneous [8]. Kaolin
showed a reduction on leaf temperature in apple trees
[11], and improved light-saturated CO2 assimilation rate
(Amax) and stomatal conductance (gs) in citrus at midday
[12]. However, kaolin has no effect on gas exchange pa-
rameters in pepper [13] and did not suffice to mitigate
the adverse effects of heat and water stress on photo-
synthesis in almond and walnut [8], and enhanced water
loss from fruit in tomato [9]. Combined studies on the
influence of kaolin particle film applications and water
stress have been limited in ornamental plants. Only, the
Effect of Kaolin Film Particle Applications (Surround WP®) and Water Deficit on 355
Physiological Characteristics in Rose Cut Plants (Rose spp L.)
literature stated studies performed by Moftah and
Al-Humaid [14] that the kaolin sprays enhanced water
status, water use efficiency (WUE) and the photosyn-
thetic activity in an ornamental plant (Polianthes tube-
rosa L.) under water deficit. However, there are not
studies that have evaluated the use of foliar applications
of kaolin on ornamental plants established under water
deficit conditions in tropical regions.
For that reason, the aim of the present work was to
study and compare the influence of kaolin film particle
applications and the water status on the stomatal conduc-
tance, chlorophyll fluorescence, chlorophyll content, shoot
length, yield of marketable stems, leaf water content and
leaf temperature in rose cut plants.
2. Materials and Method
This study was carried out at “Centro de Biotecnologia
del SENA” in Mosquera, Colombia (latitude 4.7˚ N, lon-
gitude 74.2˚ W) for 10 weeks under greenhouse condi-
tions. The greenhouse conditions during the experiment
were the following: maximum temperature 35.5˚C,
minimum temperature 10˚C, solar radiation 85.41 W/m2,
relative humidity between 50% - 90% and a photoperiod
of 12 h, approximately. Four-year-old “Charlotte” rose
plants grafted on “Natal Briar” were used. Two plants
were cultivated into 8-l plastic pots containing rice husk
(burnt at 65%) as substrate. The plants received routine
horticultural care suitable for commercial production
such as weed and pest control.
Treatments were established after shoot pinch. Rose
plants were split into two groups (well-fertigated (W) and
water-stressed (S) plants). Well-fertigated plants were
watered daily with 850 ml of a nutrient solution which
had the following composition in ppm: N 170, P 35, K
150, Ca 110, Mg 60, S 82, Mn 1, Zn 0.5, Cu 0.5, Fe 3, B
0.5 and Mo 0.1. This volume of irrigation is common
used by rose’s growers in Colombia [15]. Water-stressed
plants were irrigated daily with the 50% of the nutrient
solution’s volume (475 ml), which also had the same
nutritional concentration mentioned above. This water
quantity was chosen as water stress treatment because
growing is affected [7]. Additionally, water stressed plant
received complementary fertilization in order to have
plants with similar nutritional conditions. Then, plants in
both water statuses were also separated into plants sprayed
with kaolin and plants without kaolin. Kaolin foliar ap-
plications were performed at 6 and 30 days after shoot
pinch (DAP). Foliar applications of kaolin (300 ml/plant)
were carried out with an air blast sprayer, wetting the
upper and lower surfaces. Foliar applications were per-
formed at early morning at a rate of 5% (w/v) kaolin wa-
ter suspension (Surround WP, Tessenderlo Kerley, US),
with no adhesive or other compounds.
Leaf chlorophyll content and leaf temperature were
measured at 15, 30, 45 and 60 DAP on a fully mature ex-
panded leaf using a SPAD chlorophyll meter as a nonde-
structive tool for estimating leaf Chlorophyll (SPAD-502,
Konica Minolta Sensing, Inc., Ramsey, NJ) and an infra-
red thermometer (MX2SL3U, Cole-Parmer Instrument
Company, Vernon Hills, IL), respectively. Leaf tempera-
ture readings were carried out at mid-day. Leaf chlorophyll
fluorescence was estimated at 60 DAP using a continuous
excitation chlorophyll fluorescence analyzer (Handy PEA,
Hansatech Instruments, Kings Lynn, UK) in order to
evaluate the maximum efficiency of photosystem II
(Fv/Fm). Previously, leaves were acclimated to the dark
using lightweight leaf clips for at least half an hour before
measurements were performed.
Stomatal conductance was measured on a fully ex-
panded mature leaf from the midportion of canopy using
a leaf-porometer (SC-1 Decagon Devices, Inc., Pullman,
WA). This measurement was performed at 60 DAP be-
tween 0900 h and 1500 h.
Fully expanded mature leaves from the midportion of
canopy were collected. Leaves were introduced into a
cooler with ice to avoid dehydration and then taken to the
laboratory where fresh weight (FW) and dry weight (DW)
were determined. Leaf water content (LWC) was esti-
mated by the equation: LWC = 100 × (FW – DW)/(FW).
Soil water content (SWC) was also determined by a soil
humidity probe (Kelway Soil tester, Kel instruments Co.,
Inc., Wyckoff, NJ). LWC and SWC were obtained at 15,
30, 45 and 60 DAP. Shoot length was estimated from
eight stems per pot and recorded every week starting 15
DAP until harvest. The portion of light intercepted by the
canopy was calculated using the technique described by
Naab et al. [16] at 60 DAP. Leaf area index (LAI) was
calculated at the end of experiment by a ceptometer
(Accupar LP-80, Decagon Devices, Inc., Pullman, WA).
Marketable floral stems were counted at harvesting time.
A floral stem was considered marketable when its length
was higher than 50 cm.
A factorial experiment with two factors, Kaolin sprays
(Kaolin versus without kaolin) and plant water status
(well-irrigated versus water-stressed) with four blocks,
was established in the above-mentioned greenhouse. The
experimental unit was composed of six plastic pots. An-
alyses of variance were performed on the data to com-
pare the effect of the treatments. All percentage values
were transformed using the arcsine transformation before
analysis. Where a significant F-test was observed, mean
separation between treatments was obtained by Tukey’s
test. Data were analyzed using Statistix Version 8.0 (Ana-
lytical Software, Tallahassee, FL, US).
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. AJPS
Effect of Kaolin Film Particle Applications (Surround WP®) and Water Deficit on
Physiological Characteristics in Rose Cut Plants (Rose spp L.)
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. AJPS
3. Results and Discussion
Significant interactions were not found between plant
water status and kaolin. Nevertheless, significant differ-
ences were observed when each factor was analyzed
separately (Table 1). SWC and LWC were affected by
water treatments. Water-stressed plants showed a lower
SWC (51.04%) and LWC (74.58%) than well-irrigated
plants during 10 weeks, indicating that a group of plants
were under water stress conditions for the duration of the
experiment. Also, water-stressed plants had a lower sto-
matal conductance (gs) than well-irrigated plants. Moftah
and Al-Humaid [14] also observed that the gs of Kaolin-
sprayed plants under water stress conditions (plants irri-
gated with 60% of water added to control well-irrigated
treatments) did not reach the values obtained in control
plants in ornamental plants such as Polianthes tuberosa
L. However, some authors stated that kaolin can enhance
water use efficiency (WUE) under moderate water stress
conditions [10,12,14] in spite of low gs.
No differences were observed by irrigation regime on
leaf temperature, chlorophyll fluorescence, and SPAD
readings in rose cut plants. Regarding the kaolin-based
particle film, significance differences were only observed
on leaf temperature. Plants treated with foliar sprays
showed a lower leaf temperature than non-sprayed plants.
Plants sprayed with kaolin showed a difference approxi-
mately of 2.5˚C on leaf temperature at mid-day compared
to plants without particle film applications. Our results
confirm the stated by Glenn et al. [17], who reported that
Kaolin reduces leaf temperature by increasing leaf re-
flectance. Similar results were observed by [11,12], who
observed that foliar applications of kaolin reduced leaf
temperature at midday (Tlf 3˚C) in grapefruits and ap-
ple leaves, respectively. On the other hand, the interaction
kaolin and irrigation regime did not show differences on
LAI, shoot length, the portion of light intercepted and the
number of marketable stems (Table 2). Differences were
only found on the number of marketable stems and shoot
length under deficit irrigation. Well-irrigated plants had a
greater shoot length and marketable stems than water-
stressed plants. Raviv and Bloom [7] reported that a low
soil water content reduced shoot length in rose cut plants,
since water stress caused stomatal closure, thereby re-
ducing the plant’s turgidity, which diminish expansive
Table 1. Effect of kaolin film particle applications and water deficit on leaf temperature, chlorophyll fluorescence, SPAD,
stomatal conductance, soil wate r conte nt and le af water c o nt ent in “Charlotte” rose plants grafted on “Natal Briar”.
temperaturea (˚C) Chlorophyll
fluorescence (Fv/Fm)SPADa Stomatal conductance
(mmol CO2 m–2·s–1) Soil water
contenta (%) Leaf water
contenta (%)
Well-watered 20.26 0.83 49.2 172.43 ab 61.04 a 76.56 a
Water-stressed 19.18 0.82 47.4 147.25 b 51.04 b 70.58 b
Significancec NS NS NS *** *** **
No kaolin 21.19 a 0.83 49.0 157.45 55.62 75.43
With kaolin 18.87 b 0.81 47.6 160.25 56.45 75.71
Significance *** NS NS NS NS NS
Stress × Kaolind NS NS NS NS NS NS
CV (%)e 5.11 4.79 11.54 27.34 13.42 2.87
aValues are the average of samples done at 15, 30, 45 and 60 DAP; bWithin a column and factor followed by different letters are significantly different at P <
0.05 by Tukey’s test; cNS, **, ***, Non-significant or significant at P 0.01 or P 0.001, respectively; dInteraction between Kaolin sprays and irrigation re-
gime. NS means non-significant; eCoefficient of variation.
Effect of Kaolin Film Particle Applications (Surround WP®) and Water Deficit on 357
Physiological Characteristics in Rose Cut Plants (Rose spp L.)
Table 2. Effect of kaolin film particle applications and water deficit on shoot length, leaf area index, portion of light inter-
cepted and number of marketable stems in “Charlotte” rose plants grafted on “Natal Briar”.
length (cm) Leaf area index
(LAI) Portion of light intercepted
(%) Yield
(number of marketable stems)
Well-watered 75.41 aa 3.06 89 58.9 a
Water-stressed 58.18 b 2.44 88 35.9 b
Significanceb ** NS NS ***
No kaolin 70.89 2.58 88 48.8
With kaolin 62.71 2.92 88 46.0
Significance NS NS NS NS
Stress × Kaolinc NS NS NS NS
CV (%)d 20.83 17.89 2.70 20.40
aWithin a column and factor followed by different letters are significantly different at P < 0.05 by Tukey’s test; bNS, **, ***, Non-significant or Significant at
P 0.01 or P 0.001, respectively; cInteraction between kaolin sprays and irrigation regime. NS means non-significant; dCoefficient of variation.
4. Conclusions
In summary, water stress has a negative influence on
stomatal conductance, shoot length, and yield quality of a
valuable ornamental plant such as rose cut plants, which
is an important issue to consider in greenhouse condi-
tions in tropical areas. Application of particle film tended
to reduce leaf temperature at midday because of kaolin’s
ability to reflect most of the radiant energy fall ing on
leaf surfaces. From these data, kaolin sprays could be
considered as a tool to be used in tropical regions to im-
prove the plant acclimation to high temperature and high
radiation levels at early stages of shoot growth in rose cut
plants. However, more studies are necessary to estimate
the phenological optimal stage and dose of kaolin film
particle applications in order to not affect the visual ap-
pearance of the stem flower.
5. Acknowledgements
This work was supported by Research Division of the
National University of Colombia, Project code No. 11345.
Also, authors acknowledge Centro de Biotecnología del
SENA for technical facilities during the development of
this research. Finally, authors want to thank to Dr. Juan
Carlos Melgar for reviewing this manuscript and Dr.
Kurt Volker for providing us a small sample of Surround
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