Journal Article

Are the common assimilate pool and trophic relationships appropriate for dealing with the observed plasticity of grapevine development?

B. Pallas, A. Christophe and J. Lecoeur

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 2, pages 233-247
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online November 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp278
Are the common assimilate pool and trophic relationships appropriate for dealing with the observed plasticity of grapevine development?

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

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Background and Aims

Models based on the consideration of plant development as the result of source–sink relationships between organs suffer from an inherent lack of quantification of the effect of trophic competition on organ growth processes. The ‘common assimilate pool theory’ underlying many such models is highly debatable.

Methods

Six experiments were carried out in a greenhouse and outdoors with two grapevine cultivars and with 12 management systems, resulting in different types of plant architecture. Ten variables were used to quantify the impact of variations in assimilate supply and topological distances between sources and sinks on organogenesis, morphogenesis and biomass growth.

Key Results

A hierarchy of the responses of these processes to variations in assimilate supply was identified. Organ size seemed to be independent of assimilate supply, whereas both organogenesis and biomass growth were affected by variations in assimilate supply. Lower levels of organ biomass growth in response to the depletion of assimilate supplies seemed to be the principal mechanism underlying the plasticity of plant development in different environments. Defoliation or axis ablation resulted in changes in the relationship between growth processes and assimilate supply, highlighting the influence of non-trophic determinants. The findings cast doubt on the relevance of ‘the common assimilate pool theory’ for modelling the development of grapevine.

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest new formalisms for increasing the ability of models to take plant plasticity into account. The combination of an ecophysiological model for morphogenesis taking environmental signals into account and a biomass driven model for organogenesis and biomass allocation taking the topological distances between the sources and the sinks into account appears to be a promising approach. Moreover, in order to simulate the impact of agronomic practices, it will be necessary to take into account the non-trophic determinants of plant development such as hormonal signaletics.

Keywords: Biomass growth; branching system; common assimilate pool; morphogenesis; organogenesis; source–sink; grapevine; Vitis vinifera

Journal Article.  9941 words.  Illustrated.

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

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