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Growth Rate, Photosynthetic Activity, and Leaf Development of Brazil Pine Seedlings (Araucaria angustifolia [Bert.] O. Ktze.)

Werner Einig, Andrea Mertz and Rüdiger Hampp
Plant Ecology
Vol. 143, No. 1 (1999), pp. 23-28
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20050790
Page Count: 6
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Growth Rate, Photosynthetic Activity, and Leaf Development of Brazil Pine Seedlings (Araucaria angustifolia [Bert.] O. Ktze.)
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Abstract

Seedlings of Brazil pine, a large-seeded South American conifer, were grown in a climate chamber to investigate vertical growth pattern and the time course of leaf development. We examined shoot growth, photosynthetic performance and markers of leaf maturation such as contents of soluble sugars and activities of sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPS), neutral invertase (nI) and sucrose synthase (Susy). The daily increment of shoot length showed an optimum curve during the first 70 days after germination. The low growth rate during the first 20 days of development correlated with net CO₂ emission of the seedling. Analyses of leaf maturation markers in older seedlings revealed low sucrose/hexose ratios and high activities of nI and Susy in the uppermost leaves. Although the SPS/Susy ratio was low in these leaves the extractable SPS activity did not change significantly among leaves of different age. The photosynthetic light compensation points of young leaves were about 2-fold higher than those of mature leaves and their photosynthetic capacity was only 50% as high. Our results indicate that a rapid maturation of leaves of Brazil pine seedlings may reduce the respiratory loss of carbohydrates and that the mobilisation of seed storage compounds supports initial shoot growth under light-limiting conditions which may occur in the forest-grassland succession zone.

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