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J Exp Bot. 2003 Aug;54(389):1931-9. Epub 2003 Jun 18.

Volatile communication between barley plants affects biomass allocation.

Author information

1
Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7044, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. Velemir.Ninkovic@entom.slu.se

Abstract

Patterns of biomass allocation between different plant organs have often been used to explain the response of plants to variations in resource availability. This paper reports how aerial allelopathy (plant-plant communication) affects biomass allocation, that is the trade-off between root, stem and leaves, and also relative growth rate (RGR, increase in biomass per unit biomass per unit of time, mg g-1 d-1) and its components. Based on previous experiments, communication between two barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivars (Alva and Kara) was used for the present study. Kara exposed to volatiles from Alva allocated significantly more biomass to roots compared with Kara exposed to volatiles from Kara or to clean air. There was no significant difference between plants of Kara exposed to volatiles from Kara and those exposed to clean air. Changes in total dry weight (TDW), RGR and unit leaf rate (ULR, increase in biomass per unit time and leaf area, kg m-2 d-1) were not significantly affected by plant-plant communication. However, there was a significant increase in specific leaf area (SLA, leaf area per leaf dry weight, m2 kg-1) in Kara when exposed to volatiles from Alva. The results show that aerial plant-plant communication does not affect total biomass production but does significantly affect biomass allocation in individual plants. There may be differences in the volatile profiles of Kara and Alva that induce increased biomass allocation to roots in the Kara plants exposed to volatiles from Alva.

PMID:
12815028
DOI:
10.1093/jxb/erg192
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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