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Differences in photosynthetic characteristics among northern and southern C4 plants


  • Catherine Potvin

    1. Dept of Botany, Duke Univ., Durham, NC 27706, U.S.A.
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    • Dépt. de mathématiques et statistique, 5620 Darlington, Univ, de Montréal, Montréal, Québec Canada, H3C-3J7.


Both responses to short-term changes of temperature and to chilling under high light were analyzed in populations of Echinochloa crus-galli var. crus-galli (L.) Beauv. from Québec. North Carolina and Mississippi to improve the understanding of C4 photosynthesis at low temperature. Comparison also included plants of Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn. from Mississippi to provide for differences among species and populations. Plants were grown at two thermoperiods (28/22°C, 21/15°C). After transfer from cool (21/15°C) to warm (28/22°C) growth conditions, Echinochloa from Mississippi achieved the highest photosynthetic rates. Plants from Québec maintained the highest rates of CO2 uptake upon transfer to cool conditions. Exposure to 7°C for 3 days at a photon fluence rate of 1000 μmol m−2s−1 resulted in a reduction in the growth rates of all populations. This reduction was paralleled by a decrease in net photosynthesis and in stomatal conductance. Following chilling under hight light, the reduction in growth parameters was less important for plants from Québec than for the other populations. It suggests that, among other characteristics, northern plants had developed a certain tolerance to chilling under light.