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Tree Physiol. 1993 Oct;13(3):283-96.

Responses of loblolly pine seedlings to elevated CO(2) and fluctuating water supply.

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  • 1Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6034, USA.


Osmotic adjustment of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings to fluctuating water supply in elevated CO(2) was investigated. Seedlings were grown in controlled-environment chambers in either 350 or 700 micro l l(-1) CO(2) with weekly watering for four months, after which they were either watered weekly (well-watered treatment) or every two weeks (water-stress treatment) for 59 days. Osmotic adjustment was assessed by pressure-volume analysis of shoots and by analysis of soluble carbohydrates and free amino acids in roots during the last drying cycle. In well-watered seedlings, elevated CO(2) increased the concentration of soluble sugars in roots by 68%. Water stress reduced the soluble sugar concentration in roots of seedling growing in ambient CO(2) to 26% of that in roots of well-watered seedlings. Elevated CO(2) mitigated the water stress-induced decrease in the concentration of soluble sugars in roots. However, this was probably due, in part, to carbohydrate loading during the first four months when all seedlings were grown in the presence of a high water supply, rather than to osmotic adjustment to water stress. Water stress caused a doubling in the concentration of free primary amino acids in roots, whereas elevated CO(2) reduced primary amino acid and nitrogen concentrations to 32 and 74%, respectively, of those in roots of seedlings grown in ambient CO(2). There was no indication of large-scale osmotic adjustment to water stress or that elevated CO(2) enhanced osmotic adjustment in loblolly pine.

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