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Tree Physiol. 2001 Apr;21(6):377-86.

Photosynthetic light acclimation in peach leaves: importance of changes in mass:area ratio, nitrogen concentration, and leaf nitrogen partitioning.

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U.M.R. PIAF (INRA-Université Blaise Pascal), Domaine de Crouelle, 234 Avenue du Brezet, 63039 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 02, France.


Photosynthetic light acclimation of leaves can result from (i) changes in mass-based leaf nitrogen concentration, Nm, (ii) changes in leaf mass:area ratio, Ma, and (iii) partitioning of total leaf nitrogen among different pools of the photosynthetic machinery. We studied variations in Nm and Ma within the crowns of two peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) trees grown in an orchard in Portugal, and one peach tree grown in an orchard in France. Each crown was digitized and a 3-D radiation transfer model was used to quantify the intra-crown variations in time-integrated leaf irradiance, <PARi>. Nitrogen concentration, leaf mass:area ratio, chlorophyll concentration, and photosynthetic capacity were also measured on leaves sampled on five additional peach trees in the orchard in Portugal. The data were used to compute the coefficients of leaf nitrogen partitioning among carboxylation, bioenergetics, and light harvesting pools. Leaf mass:area ratio and area-based leaf nitrogen concentration, Na, were nonlinearly related to <PARi>, and photosynthetic capacity was linearly related to Na. Photosynthetic light acclimation resulted mainly from changes in Ma and leaf nitrogen partitioning, and to a lesser extent from changes in Nm. This behavior contrasts with photosynthetic light acclimation observed in other tree species like walnut (Juglans regia L.) in which acclimation results primarily from changes in Ma.

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