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Plant Physiol. 1985 Aug;78(4):821-5.

Leaf Conductance in Relation to Rate of CO(2) Assimilation: I. Influence of Nitrogen Nutrition, Phosphorus Nutrition, Photon Flux Density, and Ambient Partial Pressure of CO(2) during Ontogeny.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Biology, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, G. P. O. Box 475, Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia.


Plants of Zea mays were grown with different concentrations of nitrate (0.6, 4, 12, and 24 millimolar) and phosphate (0.04, 0.13, 0.53, and 1.33 millimolar) supplied to the roots, photon flux densities (0.12, 0.5, and 2 millimoles per square meter per second), and ambient partial pressures of CO(2) (305 and 610 microbars). Differences in mineral nutrition and irradiance led to a large variation in rate of CO(2) assimilation per unit leaf area (A, 11 to 58 micromoles per square meter per second) when measured under standard conditions. The variation was shown, with the plants that had received different amounts of nitrate, to be related to variations in the nitrogen and chlorophyll contents, and phosphoenolpyruvate and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase activities per unit leaf area. Irrespective of growth treatment, A and leaf conductance to CO(2) transfer (g), measured under standard conditions were in almost constant proportion, implying that intercellular partial pressure of CO(2) (p(i)), was almost constant at 95 microbars. The same proportionality was maintained as A and g increased in an initially nitrogen-deficient plant that had been supplied with abundant nitrate. It was shown that p(i) measured at a given ambient partial pressure was not affected by the ambient partial pressure at which the plants had been grown, although it was different when measured at different ambient partial pressures. This suggests that the close coupling between A and g in these experiments is not associated with sensitivity of stomata to change in p(i).Similar, though less comprehensive, experiments were done with Gossypium hirsutum, and yielded similar conclusions, except that the proportionality between A and g at normal ambient partial pressure of CO(2) implied P(i) approximately 200 microbars.

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