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Photosynthetic down-regulation under elevated CO2 exposure can be prevented by nitrogen supply in nodulated alfalfa

AuthorsSanz-Sáez, Álvaro; Erice, Gorka; Aranjuelo, Iker CSIC ORCID ; Nogués, Salvador; Irigoyen, Juan José CSIC ORCID; Sánchez-Díaz, Manuel CSIC ORCID
KeywordsMedicago sativa (alfalfa)
Photosynthetic down-regulation
Isotopic composition
Carbon dioxide
Issue Date13-Aug-2010
CitationJournal of Plant Physiology 167(18): 1558-1565 (2010)
AbstractIncreasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected to enhance plant photosynthesis and yield. Nevertheless, after long-term exposure, plants acclimate and show a reduction in photosynthetic activity (called down-regulation), which may cause a reduction in potential yield. Some authors suggest that down-regulation is related to nutrient availability, and more specifically, to an insufficient plant C sink strength caused by limited N supply. In this paper, we tested whether or not N availability prevents down-regulation of photosynthesis in nodulated alfalfa plants (Medicago sativa L.). To do so, we examined the effect of the addition of different levels of NH¿NO¿ (0, 10, and 15 mM) to 30-day-old nodulated alfalfa plants exposed to ambient (approximately 400 ¿mol mol¿¹) or elevated CO¿ (700 ¿mol mol¿¹) during a period of 1 month in growth chambers. After 2 weeks of exposure to elevated CO¿, no significant differences were observed in plant growth or photosynthesis rates. After 4 weeks of treatment, exclusively N¿ fixing alfalfa plants (0 mM NH¿NO¿) showed significant decreases in photosynthesis and Vc(max). Photosynthetic down-regulation of these plants was caused by the C/N imbalance as reflected by the carbohydrate and N data. On the other hand, plants supplied with 15 mM NH¿NO¿ grown under elevated CO¿ maintained high photosynthetic rates owing to their superior C/N adjustment. The intermediate N treatment, 10 mM NH¿NO¿, also showed photosynthetic down-regulation, but to a lesser degree than with 0 mM treatment. The present study clearly shows that external N supply can reduce or even avoid acclimation of photosynthesis to elevated CO¿ as a consequence of the increase in C sink strength associated with N availability.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2010.06.015
issn: 0176-1617
Appears in Collections:(EEAD) Artículos
(ICVV) Artículos

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