The relation between nitrogen deficiency and second leaf senescence in wheat plants
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Life span of the second leaf of wheat(Triticum aestivum L., cv. Grana) plants was studied from day 8 to day 50 of plant age in a variant with nitrogen (+N) and in a variant in which plant senescence was induced by the omission of nitrogen from the nutrient solution (−N). Seed protein was the sole source of nitrogen for these plants. Specific leaf mass (SLM) in the −N variant, and specific leaf area (SLA), the mass of fresh leaf, soluble protein content and total nitrogen content in the +N variant peaked by day 22 of plant age (that is by day 19 of leaf age). Dry matter content, leaf length and leaf area, and SLM in the +N variant peaked by day 29 of plant age (that is by day 26 of leaf age). The ontogeny of the second leaf in the variant with enhanced senescence was shorter by at least 14 days. Plants from this variant showed typical symptoms of N deficiency, that is yellowing of leaves, tip burn, and lack of tillering. However, the growth and biochemical characters studied did not indicate an earlier onset of the senescence of the second leaf of −N plants. Both +N and −N variants reached their peaks (with the exception of an earlier peak by day 12 in case of total nitrogen content in the −N variant) on the same day of leaf age. Thus the first part of the leaf life span from leaf growth initiation to full expansion was of the same length in both the control and N-def icient plants. The stage of the proper senescence of the second leaf of −N plants was very short; the leaf completely died away within 7 days after senescence onset.
KeywordsNutrient Solution Leaf Senescence Specific Leaf Area Total Nitrogen Content Soluble Protein Content
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