The role of nitrogen in photosynthetic acclimation to elevated [CO2] in tomatoes
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Although elevated [CO2] causes an increase of photosynthesis in the short-term, this increase is often attenuated over time due to decreased photosynthetic capacity of the leaf in a process called photosynthetic acclimation to elevated CO2 (PAC). PAC is often accompanied by N deficiency and sink:source imbalance. The aim of this study is to investigate mechanisms that lead to PAC, N deficiency and sink:source imbalance in tomato plants grown in elevated [CO2] and how they are affected by different levels of N treatments.
Two long-term experiment and two short-term experiments were conducted in which tomato plants were grown in chambers with ambient [CO2] and elevated [CO2] combined with different levels of N nutrition. The following parameters were measured: 1) Biomass 2)Leaf N, P and K concentrations, 3) leaf NO3− concentration, 4) Gas exchange 5) Rubisco expression and 6) Leaf starch concentration.
Plants grown at e[CO2] had increased biomass and starch, and decreased gas exchange, stomatal conductivity, Rubisco expression, Vcmax, NPK and leaf NO3− . Increasing N fertilization counteracted many of the effects of elevated [CO2].
PAC was caused by decreased N uptake or transport coupled with increased growth which leads to N deficiency and a sink:source imbalance. Increased N fertilization counteracted the effect of e[CO2] on photosynthesis, N status, and sink:source imbalance. Furthermore, elevated [CO2] caused stomata to partially close, which accounted for some of the PAC observed.
KeywordsCarbon dioxide Nitrogen assimilation Nitrogen uptake Photosynthesis Sink:Source Stomata
Elevated CO2 concentration
Partial pressure of CO2 in intercellular spaces
Partial pressure of CO2 outside the leaf
Elongation factor gene expression
Photosynthetic acclimation to elevated CO2
Maximum rate of carboxylation
We would like to thank Inna Faingold, Hila Hecht-Ganan, Lital Zelnik and Dan Hamus Cohen for their help with the lab analyses. We would also like to thank Mohamed Alhosa for dealing with plant pathogens that arose during the experiments.
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