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J Plant Physiol. 2007 Mar;164(3):318-26. Epub 2006 Mar 14.

Characterization of photosynthesis of flag leaves in a wheat hybrid and its parents grown under field conditions.

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Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Photosynthesis Research Center, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Two wheat cultivars, one with high yield and the other with a high tolerance against oxidative stress, were compared with a hybrid of these two cultivars by investigating their photosynthetic characteristics of flag leaves. From the beginning of flowering to the 17th day, CO(2) assimilation rate (P(max)) was maintained and there were no appreciable differences between the hybrid and its parents. P(max) showed no decrease at noon compared to that in the morning. From the 20th to the 30th day of flowering, P(max) decreased significantly, and this decrease was significantly less in the hybrid than in its parents. The actual photosystem II (PSII) efficiency (Phi(PSII)) and the maximal efficiency of PSII photochemistry (F(v)/F(m)) showed a significant decrease only on the 30th day after anthesis; this decline was much less marked in the hybrid relative to its parents, both in the morning and at noon. A decrease occurred in Phi(PSII) and F(v)/F(m) at noon when compared to that in the morning, but this decrease was less marked in the hybrid than in its parents. Rubisco activity decreased significantly from the 13th day of flowering and was higher in the morning than at noon both in the hybrid and its parents. However, the hybrid always showed a higher value of Rubisco activity. The activities of posphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and pyruvate phosphate dikinase showed similar changes to those in Rubisco activity, particularly from the 20th to 30th day. The results of this study suggest that the higher photosynthetic capacity of the flag leaf in the hybrid can help to accumulate more dry material, and may be the physiological basis for higher yield over its parents.

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