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Increased capacity for photosynthesis in wheat grown at elevated CO2: the relationship between electron transport and carbon metabolism

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/1995
Issue number3
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)482-489
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was grown under optimal nutrition for six weeks at 700 and 350 μmol·mol-1 CO2 and simultaneous measurements of photosystem-II (PSII) chlorophyll fluorescence and gas exchange were conducted on intact attached leaves. Plants grown at elevated CO2 had double the concentration of CO2 at the carboxylation site (Cc) despite a lowered stomatal (gs) and mesophyll (gm) conductance compared with ambient-grown plants. Plants grown at elevated CO2 had a higher relative quantum yield of PSII electron transport (ΦPSII) and a higher relative quantum yield of CO2 fixation (ΦCO2). The higher ΦPSII was due to a larger proportion of open PSII centres, estimated by the coefficient of photochemical quenching of fluorescence (qp), with no change in the efficiency of light harvesting and energy transduction by open PSII centres (F′v/F′m). Analysis of the relationship between ΦPSII and ΦCO2 conducted under various CO2 and O2 concentrations showed that the higher ΦCO2 for a given ΦPSII in leaves developed under elevated CO2 was similar to that obtained in leaves upon a partial reduction in photorespiration. Calculation of the allocation of photosynthetic electron-transport products to CO2 and O2 showed that for leaves developed in elevated CO2, there was an increase in both total linear electron flow and electron flow to CO2 and a decrease in electron flow to O2. Plants developed under elevated CO2 showed positive acclimation manifested by a higher ΦCO2 when measured under ambient CO2 and higher assimilation rates in A/Ci curves. Initial and total activity of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (Rubisco EC measured in vitro increased by 16 and 15% respectively in leaves from plants grown in elevated CO2, which was in agreement with a 15% higher in vivo carboxylation efficiency. It is concluded that growth of spring wheat at elevated CO2 enhances photosynthesis due to a change in the balance of component processes manifested as an increased capacity for carbon fixation, total electron transport and Rubisco activity, and a concomitant partial reduction of photorespiration.