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Chemical composition of 24 wild species differing in relative growth rate

Authors

  • H. POORTER,

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    1. Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Utrecht, P.O. Box 800.84, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands
      H. Poorter, Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Utrecht, P.O. Box 800.84, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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  • M. BERGKOTTE

    1. Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Utrecht, P.O. Box 800.84, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands
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H. Poorter, Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Utrecht, P.O. Box 800.84, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT

The chemical composition of 24 plant species which showed a three-fold range in potential growth rate was investigated. The carbon content of whole plants was lower for fast-growing species than for slow-growing ones. Fast-growing species accumulated more organic N-compounds, organic acids and minerals, whereas slow-growing species accumulated more (hemi)cellulose, insoluble sugars and lignin. No correlations with relative growth rate were found for soluble phenolics, soluble sugars and lipids. The costs to construct 1 g of plant biomass were rather similar for fast- and slow-growing species, both when expressed as C needed for C-skeletons, as glucose to provide ATP and NAD(P)H, and as total glucose costs. Therefore, we conclude that, despite the differences in chemical composition between fast- and slow-growing species, variation in the costs of synthesis of whole plant biomass cannot explain interspecific variation in relative growth rate of herbaceous species.

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