Leaf carbohydrate status in Lolium temulentum during the induction of flowering


To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: cperilleux@ulg.ac.be


Unifoliated plants of Lolium temulentum L. ev. Ceres, a qualitative long-day grass, were induced to flower by one 24-h long day (LD) or by one 8-h short day (SD) advanced by 1 2 h in the normal regime, so-called ‘displaced short day’ (DSD). Standard light for SD and DSD was a mixture of fluorescence and incandescence at 400 μmol m−2 s−1whereas the extension period of the 24-h LD was solely incandescence at 10–15 μmol m−2 s−1. The DSD system was first characterized by the timings of floral induction, stimulus translocation and apical development. Carbohydrates in the blade tissues and in leaf exudate were analysed comparatively in vegetative and induced plants.

Fructans were not detected in the leaf tissues whereas sucrose and starch were found to be present in similar amounts. In SD, their contents exhibited a diurnal fluctuation and were not in large excess. The common change observed during the two inductive treatments was that starch remained at a high level during the LD extension, even though the lighting was unsuitable for photosynthesis, and increased transiently in DSD.

Sucrose was the major sugar contained in the leaf exudate. Its content increased when flowering was induced, but not at the same time in the two systems. In LD, sucrose exudation rose when plants were returned to standard light after the inductive cycle, i.e. after the LD stimulus had left the leaf blade. By contrast, during the DSD, sucrose was transported at the same time as the floral stimulus. Results are discussed together with the methods used to time stimulus translocation and their implications.