Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Plant Physiol. 1998 Oct;118(2):573-80.

Does a low nitrogen supply necessarily lead to acclimation of photosynthesis to elevated CO2?

Author information

  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, John Tabor Laboratories, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, United Kingdom.


Long-term exposure of plants to elevated partial pressures of CO2 (pCO2) often depresses photosynthetic capacity. The mechanistic basis for this photosynthetic acclimation may involve accumulation of carbohydrate and may be promoted by nutrient limitation. However, our current knowledge is inadequate for making reliable predictions concerning the onset and extent of acclimation. Many studies have sought to investigate the effects of N supply but the methodologies used generally do not allow separation of the direct effects of limited N availability from those caused by a N dilution effect due to accelerated growth at elevated pCO2. To dissociate these interactions, wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was grown hydroponically and N was added in direct proportion to plant growth. Photosynthesis did not acclimate to elevated pCO2 even when growth was restricted by a low-N relative addition rate. Ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase activity and quantity were maintained, there was no evidence for triose phosphate limitation of photosynthesis, and tissue N content remained within the range recorded for healthy wheat plants. In contrast, wheat grown in sand culture with N supplied at a fixed concentration suffered photosynthetic acclimation at elevated pCO2 in a low-N treatment. This was accompanied by a significant reduction in the quantity of active ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and leaf N content.

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center