Seasonal and diurnal changes in photosynthetic limitation of young sweet orange trees
This study tests the hypothesis that potted sweet orange plants show a significant variation in photosynthesis over seasonal and diurnal cycles. even in well-hydrated conditions. This hypothesis was tested by measuring diurnal variations in leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf water potential, and the responses of CO(2) assimilation to increasing air CO(2) concentrations in 1-year-old 'Valencia' sweet orange scions grafted onto 'Cleopatra' mandarin rootstocks during the winter and summer seasons in a subtropical climate. In addition, diurnal leaf gas exchange was evaluated under controlled conditions, with constant environmental conditions during both winter and summer. In relation to our hypothesis, a greater rate of photosynthesis is found during the summer compared to the winter. Reduced photosynthesis during winter was induced by cool night conditions, as the diurnal fluctuation of environmental conditions was not limiting. Low air and soil temperatures caused decreases in the stomatal conductance and in the rates of the biochemical reactions underlying photosynthesis (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylation and RuBP regeneration) during the winter compared to the values obtained for those markers in the Summer. Citrus photosynthesis during the summer was riot impaired by biochemical or photochemical reactions. as CO(2) assimilation was only limited by stomatal conductance due to high leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference (VPD) during the afternoon. During the winter, the reduction in photosynthesis during the afternoon Was Caused by decreases in RuBP regeneration and stomatal conductance, which are both precipitated by low night temperature. (c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.