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Plant Physiol. 1996 Jul;111(3):909-919.

The Effect of Elevated [CO2] on Growth and Photosynthesis of Two Eucalyptus Species Exposed to High Temperatures and Water Deficits.

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  • 1Ecosystem Dynamics, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200, Australia.


Two species of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha and Eucalyptus rossii) were grown for 8 weeks in either ambient (350 [mu]L L-1) or elevated (700 [mu]L L-1) CO2 concentrations, either well watered or without water additions, and subjected to a daily, 3-h high-temperature (45[deg]C, maximum) and high-light (1250 [mu]mol photons m-2 s-1, maximum) stress period. Water-stressed seedlings of E. macrorhyncha had higher leaf water potentials when grown in elevated [CO2]. Growth analysis indicated that increased [CO2] may allow eucalyptus species to perform better during conditions of low soil moisture. A down-regulation of photosynthetic capacity was observed for seedlings grown in elevated [CO2] when well watered but not when water stressed. Well-watered seedlings grown in elevated [CO2] had lower quantum efficiencies as measured by chlorophyll fluorescence (the ratio of variable to maximal chlorophyll fluorescence [Fv/Fm]) than seedlings grown in ambient [CO2] during the high-temperature stress period. However, no significant differences in Fv/Fm were observed between CO2 treatments when water was withheld. The reductions in dark-adapted Fv/Fm for plants grown in elevated [CO2] were not well correlated with increased xanthophyll cycle photoprotection. However, reductions in the Fv/Fm were correlated with increased levels of nonstructural carbohydrates. The reduction in quantum efficiencies for plants grown in elevated [CO2] is discussed in the context of feedback inhibition of electron transport associated with starch accumulation and variation in sink strength.

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