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Plant Physiol. 1977 Mar;59(3):506-10.

Nutrition of a developing legume fruit: functional economy in terms of carbon, nitrogen, water.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia 6009.


The economy of functioning of the developing fruit of white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) is assessed quantitatively in relation to intake and usage of carbon, nitrogen, and water. Of every 100 units of carbon imported from the parent plant, 52 are incorporated into seeds, 37 into nonmobilizable material of the pod, and the remaining 11 lost as CO(2) to the atmosphere. An illuminated fruit can make net gains of CO(2) from the atmosphere during the photoperiods of all but the last 2 weeks of its life, suggesting that it is active in assimilation of CO(2) respired from pods and seeds. This conservation activity is important to carbon economy.Phloem supplies 98% of the fruit's carbon and 89% of its nitrogen. Most of the xylem's contribution enters early in development. Xylem and phloem supply similar sets of amino compounds, amides predominating. Ninety-six per cent of the fruit's nitrogen becomes incorporated into seeds. Sixteen per cent of the seed's nitrogen is mobilized from the senescing pod.The transpiration ratio of the fruit is 22.5 ml per gram dry matter accumulated. Xylem supplies 60% of a fruit's total water requirement and the equivalent of two-thirds of its transpiration loss. Phloem becomes prominent as a water donor once the seeds start to fill.The fruit exhibits a 31% conversion by weight of organic imports into food reserves of seeds. This entails an intake through vascular channels of 1756 mg sucrose and 384 mg amino compounds and an accumulation in seeds of 412 mg protein, 132 mg oil, and 110 mg perchloric acid-soluble carbohydrate.

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