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Plant Physiol. 1988 Jun;87(2):409-13.

Effect of Restricted Root Growth on Carbohydrate Metabolism and Whole Plant Growth of Cucumis sativus L.

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  • 1Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7609.

Abstract

The effects of varied rooting volumes on root growth and source leaf carbohydrate metabolism were studied in greenhouse-grown cucumber (Cucumis sativus L cv Calypso) plants. Plants were grown for 7 weeks in container volumes that ranged from 0.4 to 5.9 liters. Plants grown in the smaller containers exhibited less leaf expansion, lower root and shoot weight, and fewer lateral stems than plants grown in the 5.9 liter containers. Shoot/root ratio was not altered by the container volume, suggesting coordination of root and shoot growth due to rooting volume. Source leaf carbon exchange rates, assimilate export rates, and starch accumulation rates for plants grown in 0.4 liter containers were approximately one-half or less in comparison to those for plants grown in 5.9 liter containers. Starch concentrations per unit leaf area were maintained at high levels in source leaves of plants grown in 0.4 liter containers over the entire day/night cycle. Lower extractable galactinol synthase activities and higher galactinol concentrations occurred in leaves of plants grown in 0.4 liter container volumes. The reduced sink demand, induced by restricted root growth, may have led to increased starch concentrations and to a reduction in stachyose biosynthesis in cucumber source leaves.

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