Journal Article

A Dynamical Model of Environmental Effects on Allocation to Carbon-based Secondary Compounds in Juvenile Trees

S. Gayler, T. E. E. Grams, W. Heller, D. Treutter and E. Priesack

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 8, pages 1089-1098
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcm169
A Dynamical Model of Environmental Effects on Allocation to Carbon-based Secondary Compounds in Juvenile Trees

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Patterns and variations in concentration of carbon-based secondary compounds in plant tissues have been explained by means of different complementary and, in some cases, contradictory plant defence hypotheses for more than 20 years. These hypotheses are conceptual models which consider environmental impacts on plant internal demands. In the present study, a mathematical model is presented, which converts and integrates the concepts of the ‘Growth–Differentiation Balance’ hypothesis and the ‘Protein Competition’ model into a dynamic plant growth model, that was tested with concentration data of polyphenols in leaves of juvenile apple, beech and spruce trees. The modelling approach is part of the plant growth model PLATHO that considers simultaneously different environmental impacts on the most important physiological processes of plants.

Methods

The modelling approach for plant internal resource allocation is based on a priority scheme assuming that growth processes have priority over allocation to secondary compounds and that growth-related metabolism is more strongly affected by nitrogen deficiency than defence-related secondary metabolism.

Key Results

It is shown that the model can reproduce the effect of nitrogen fertilization on allocation patterns in apple trees and the effects of elevated CO2 and competition in juvenile beech and spruce trees. The analysis of model behaviour reveals that large fluctuations in plant internal availability of carbon and nitrogen are possible within a single vegetation period. Furthermore, the model displays a non-linear allocation behaviour to carbon-based secondary compounds.

Conclusions

The simulation results corroborate the underlying assumptions of the presented modelling approach for resource partitioning between growth-related primary metabolism and defence-related secondary metabolism. Thus, the dynamical modelling approach, which considers variable source and sink strengths of plant internal resources within different phenological growth stages, presents a successful translation of existing concepts into a dynamic mathematical model.

Keywords: Plant growth; carbon-based secondary compounds; plant defence hypotheses; simulation model; phenolic allocation; nitrogen; carbon dioxide; Malus domestica; Fagus sylvatica; Picea abies

Journal Article.  6356 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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