Effects of nitrate application on Amaranthus powellii Wats. III. Optimal allocation of leaf nitrogen for photosynthesis and stomatal conductance

TitleEffects of nitrate application on Amaranthus powellii Wats. III. Optimal allocation of leaf nitrogen for photosynthesis and stomatal conductance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1985
AuthorsE. Jr. RHunt, Weber JA, Gates DM
JournalPlant Physiology
Volume79
Pagination619-624
KeywordsSTOMATA
Abstract

Optimal allocation of leaf nitrogen maximizes daily CO2 assimilation for a given leaf nitrogen concentration. According to the hypothesis of optimization, this condition occurs when the partial derivative of assimilation rate with respect to leaf nitrogen concentration is constant. This hypothesis predicts a linear increase of assimilation rate with leaf nitrogen concentration under constant conditions. Plants of Amaranthus powellii Wats. were grown at 1, 5, 10, or 45 millimolar nitrate to obtain leaves with different nitrogen concentrations. Assimilation rate at 340 microbar CO2/bar, stomatal conductance, CO2- and light-saturated net photosynthetic rate, the initial slope of the CO2 response of photosynthesis, ribulose-1,5'-bisphosphate carboxylase activity, and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase activity were linearly related to estimated or actual leaf nitrogen concentration. The data are consistent with the optimal use of leaf nitrogen. This hypothesis and the hypothesis of optimal stomatal conductance were combined to determine the relationship between conductance and leaf nitrogen concentration. The slope of conductance versus leaf nitrogen concentration was not significantly different than the slope predicted by the combination of the two hypotheses. Stomatal conductance was linearly related to leaf nitrogen in the field and the slope decreased with lower xylem pressure potentials in a manner consistent with the hypotheses. Finally, apparent maximum stomatal aperture of isolated abaxial epidermal strips was linearly related to leaf nitrogen suggesting stomatal conductance and assimilation rate are controlled in parallel by leaf nitrogen concentration or some factor correlated with leaf nitrogen.