Photosynthetic decline in aging perennial grass is not fully explained by leaf nitrogen

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2022-12-08
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Tejera, Mauricio
Boersma, Nicholas N.
Archontoulis, Sotirios V.
Miguez, Fernando E.
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© The Author(s) 2022
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VanLoocke, Andy
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Heaton, Emily
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Agronomy

The Department of Agronomy seeks to teach the study of the farm-field, its crops, and its science and management. It originally consisted of three sub-departments to do this: Soils, Farm-Crops, and Agricultural Engineering (which became its own department in 1907). Today, the department teaches crop sciences and breeding, soil sciences, meteorology, agroecology, and biotechnology.

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The Department of Agronomy was formed in 1902. From 1917 to 1935 it was known as the Department of Farm Crops and Soils.

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1902–present

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  • Department of Farm Crops and Soils (1917–1935)

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Abstract
Aging in perennial plants is traditionally observed in terms of changes in end-of-season biomass; however, the driving phenological and physiological changes are poorly understood. We found that 3-year-old (mature) stands of the perennial grass Miscanthus×giganteus had 19–30% lower Anet than 1-year-old M.×giganteus (juvenile) stands; 10–34% lower maximum carboxylation rates of Rubisco and 34% lower light-saturated Anet (Asat). These changes could be related to nitrogen (N) limitations, as mature plants were larger and had 14–34% lower leaf N on an area basis (Na) than juveniles. However, N fertilization restored Na to juvenile levels but compensated only 50% of the observed decline in leaf photosynthesis with age. Comparison of leaf photosynthesis per unit of leaf N (PNUE) showed that mature stands had at least 26% lower PNUE than juvenile stands across all N fertilization rates, suggesting that other factors, besides N, may be limiting photosynthesis in mature stands. We hypothesize that sink limitations in mature stands could be causing feedback inhibition of photosynthesis which is associated with the age-related decline in photosynthesis.
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This article is published as Mauricio Tejera, Nicholas N Boersma, Sotirios V Archontoulis, Fernando E Miguez, Andy VanLoocke, Emily A Heaton, Photosynthetic decline in aging perennial grass is not fully explained by leaf nitrogen, Journal of Experimental Botany, Volume 73, Issue 22, 8 December 2022, Pages 7582–7595, https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erac382. Posted with permission.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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