Journal Article

Relationship between photosynthesis and leaf nitrogen concentration in ambient and elevated [CO<sub>2</sub>] in white birch seedlings

Bing Cao, Qing-Lai Dang and Shouren Zhang

in Tree Physiology

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 891-899
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online June 2007 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/27.6.891
Relationship between photosynthesis and leaf nitrogen concentration in ambient and elevated [CO2] in white birch seedlings

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To study the effects of elevated CO2 concentration ([CO2]) on relationships between nitrogen (N) nutrition and foliar gas exchange parameters, white birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) seedlings were exposed to one of five N-supply regimes (10, 80, 150, 220, 290 mg N l−1) in either ambient [CO2] (360 μmol mol−1) or elevated [CO2] (720 μmol mol−1) in environment-controlled greenhouses. Foliar gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence were measured after 60 and 80 days of treatment. Photosynthesis showed a substantial down-regulation (up to 57%) in response to elevated [CO2] and the magnitude of the down-regulation generally decreased exponentially with increasing leaf N concentration. When measured at the growth [CO2], elevated [CO2] increased the overall rate of photosynthesis (Pn) and instantaneous water-use efficiency (IWUE) by up to 69 and 236%, respectively, but decreased transpiration (E) and stomatal conductance (gs) in all N treatments. However, the degree of stimulation of photosynthesis by elevated [CO2] decreased as photosynthetic down-regulation increased from 60 days to 80 days of treatment. Elevated [CO2] significantly increased total photosynthetic electron transport in all N treatments at 60 days of treatment, but the effect was insignificant after 80 days of treatment. Both Pn and IWUE generally increased with increasing leaf N concentration except at very high leaf N concentrations, where both Pn and IWUE declined. The relationships of Pn and IWUE with leaf N concentration were modeled with both a linear regression and a second-order polynomial function. Elevated [CO2] significantly and substantially increased the slope of the linear regression for IWUE, but had no significant effect on the slope for Pn. The optimal leaf N concentration for Pn and IWUE derived from the polynomial function did not differ between the CO2 treatments when leaf N was expressed on a leaf area basis. However, the mass-based optimal leaf N concentration for Pn was much lower in seedlings in elevated [CO2] than in ambient [CO2] (31.88 versus 37.00 mg g−1). Elevated [CO2] generally decreased mass-based leaf N concentration but had no significant effect on area-based leaf N concentration; however, maximum N concentration per unit leaf area was greater in elevated [CO2] than in ambient [CO2] (1.913 versus 1.547 g N m−2).

Keywords: boreal trees; climate change; CO2–nitrogen interaction

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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