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Plant Physiol. 1986 Oct;82(2):528-33.

Photosynthesis and Growth of Water Hyacinth under CO(2) Enrichment.

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  • 1Department of Botany, 3157 McCarty Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.


Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes [Mart.] Solms) plants were grown in environmental chambers at ambient and enriched CO(2) levels (330 and 600 microliters CO(2) per liter). Daughter plants (ramets) produced in the enriched CO(2) gained 39% greater dry weight than those at ambient CO(2), but the original mother plants did not. The CO(2) enrichment increased the number of leaves per ramet and leaf area index, but did not significantly increase leaf size or the number of ramets formed. Flower production was increased 147%. The elevated CO(2) increased the net photosynthetic rate of the mother plants by 40%, but this was not maintained as the plants acclimated to the higher CO(2) level. After 14 days at the elevated CO(2), leaf resistance increased and transpiration decreased, especially from the adaxial leaf surface. After 4 weeks in elevated as compared to ambient CO(2), ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase activity was 40% less, soluble protein content 49% less, and chlorophyll content 26% less; whereas starch content was 40% greater. Although at a given CO(2) level the enriched CO(2) plants had only half the net photosynthetic rate of their counterparts grown at ambient CO(2), they showed similar internal CO(2) concentrations. This suggested that the decreased supply of CO(2) to the mesophyll, as a result of the increased stomatal resistance, was counterbalanced by a decreased utilization of CO(2). Photorespiration and dark respiration were lower, such that the CO(2) compensation point was not altered. The photosynthetic light and CO(2) saturation points were not greatly changed, nor was the O(2) inhibition of photosynthesis (measured at 330 microliters CO(2) per liter). It appears that with CO(2) enrichment the temporary increase in net photosynthesis produced larger ramets. After acclimation, the greater total ramet leaf area more than compensated for the lower net photosynthetic rate on a unit leaf area basis, and resulted in a sustained improvement in dry weight gain.

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