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Plant Physiol. 1999 Aug;120(4):1117-28.

Evidence for light-stimulated fatty acid synthesis in soybean fruit

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Department of Biology, Queen's University at Kingston, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.


In leaves, the light reactions of photosynthesis support fatty acid synthesis but disagreement exists as to whether this occurs in green oilseeds. To address this question, simultaneous measurements of the rates of CO(2) and O(2) exchange (CER and OER, respectively) were made in soybean (Glycine max L.) fruits. The imbalance between CER and OER was used to estimate the diverted reductant utilization rate (DRUR) in the equation: DRUR = 4 x (OER + CER). This yielded a quantitative measure of the rate of synthesis of biomass that is more reduced per unit carbon than glucose (in photosynthesizing tissues) or than the substrates of metabolism (in respiring tissues). The DRUR increased by about 2.2-fold when fruits were illuminated due to a greater increase in OER than decrease in CER. This characteristic was shown to be a property of the seed (not the pod wall), to be present in fruits at all developmental stages, and to reach a maximal response at relatively low light. When seeds were provided with (13)CO(2), light reduced (12)CO(2) production but had little effect on (13)CO(2) fixation. When they were provided with (18)O(2), light stimulated (16)O(2) production but had no effect on (18)O(2) uptake. Together, these findings indicate that light stimulates fatty acid synthesis in photosynthetic oilseeds, probably by providing both ATP and carbon skeletons.

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