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New Phytol. 2006;170(3):479-90.

Assimilation and allocation of carbon and nitrogen of thermal and nonthermal Agrostis species in response to high soil temperature.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520, USA.


We studied whether changes in the assimilation and allocation of carbon and nitrogen are associated with plant tolerance to high soil temperatures. Two Agrostis species, thermal Agrostis scabra, a species adapted to high-temperature soils in geothermal areas in Yellowstone National Park (USA), and two cultivars of a cool-season species, Agrostis stolonifera, L-93 and Penncross, were exposed to soil temperatures of 37 or 20 degrees C, while shoots were exposed to 20 degrees C. Net photosynthesis rate, photochemical efficiency, NO(3) (-)-assimilation rate and root viability decreased with increasing soil temperatures in both species. However, the decreases were less pronounced for A. scabra than for both A. stolonifera cultivars. Carbon investment in growth of plants exposed to 37 degrees C decreased more dramatically in both A. stolonifera cultivars than in A. scabra. Nitrogen allocation to shoots was greater in A. scabra than in both creeping bentgrass cultivars at 37 degrees C soil temperature. Our results demonstrate that plant tolerance to high soil temperature is related to efficient expenditure and adjustment of C- and N-allocation patterns between growth and respiration.

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