Leaf photosynthesis, plant growth and nitrogen allocation in rice under different irradiances

Amane Makino, Tetsuya Sato, Hiromi Nakano, Tadahiko Mae

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131 Citations (Scopus)


The photosynthetic rates and various components of photosynthesis including ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (Rubisco; EC, chlorophyll (Chl), cytochrome (Cyt) f, and coupling factor 1 (CF1) contents, and sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPS; EC activity were examined in young, fully expanded leaves of rice (Oryza sativa L.) grown hydroponically under two irradiances, namely, 1000 and 350 μmol quanta · m-2 · s-1, at three N concentrations. The light-saturated rate of photosynthesis measured at 1800 μmol · m-2 · s-1 was almost the same for a given leaf N content irrespective of growth irradiance. Similarly, Rubisco content and SPS activity were not different for the same learn content between irradiance treatments. In contrast, Chl content was significantly greater in the plants grown at 350 μmol · m-2 · s-1, whereas Cyt f and CF1 contents tended to be slightly smaller. However, these changes were not substantial, as shown by the fact that the light-limited rate of photosynthesis measured at 350 μmol · m-2 · s-1 was the same or only a little higher in the plants grown at 350 μmol · m-2 · s-1 and that CO2-saturated photosynthesis did not differ between irradiance treatments. These results indicate that growth-irradiance-dependent changes in N partitioning in a leaf were far from optimal with respect to N-use efficiency of photosynthesis. In spite of the difference in growth irradiance, the relative growth rate of the whole plant did not differ between the treatments because there was an increase in the leaf area ratio in the low-irradiance-grown plants. This increase was associated with the preferential N-investment in leaf blades and the extremely low accumulation of starch and sucrose in leaf blades and sheaths, allowing a more efficient use of the fixed carbon. Thus, morphogenic responses at the whole-plant level may be more important for plants as an adaptation strategy to light environments than a response of N partitioning at the level of a single leaf.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-398
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Gas exchange (photosynthesis)
  • Growth analysis
  • Growth irradiance
  • Nitrogen partitioning (photosynthesis)
  • Oryza
  • Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


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