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Plant Physiol. 1997 Nov;115(3):1195-1200.

Elevated CO2 Effects during Leaf Ontogeny (A New Perspective on Acclimation).

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Department of Botany (A.M., C.-H.T., D.H., M.E., S.R., M.S.), and Interdepartmental Plant Physiology Program (A.M., D.H., S.R., M.S.), Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011.


For many plants growth in elevated CO2 leads to reduced rates of photosynthesis. To examine the role that leaf ontogeny plays in the acclimation response, we monitored photosynthesis and some related parameters at short intervals throughout the ontogenetic development of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) leaves under ambient (350 [mu]L L-1)- and high (950 [mu]L L-1)-CO2 conditions. The pattern of photosynthetic rate over time was similar between the two treatments and consistent with the expected pattern for a typical dicot leaf. However, the photosynthesis pattern in high-CO2-grown tobacco was shifted temporally to an earlier maximum and subsequent senescent decline. Ribulose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase activity appeared to be the main factor regulating photosynthetic rates in both treatments. Therefore, we propose a new model for interpreting the acclimation response. Lowered photosynthetic rates observed during acclimation appear to be the result of a shift in the timing of the normal photosynthetic stages of leaf ontogeny to an earlier onset of the natural decline in photosynthetic rates associated with senescence.

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