Limited photosynthetic plasticity in the leaf-succulent CAM plant Agave angustifolia grown at different temperatures

Holtum, Joseph A.M., and Winter, Klaus (2014) Limited photosynthetic plasticity in the leaf-succulent CAM plant Agave angustifolia grown at different temperatures. Functional Plant Biology, 41 (8). pp. 843-849.

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In Agave angustifolia Haw., a leaf-succulent constitutive crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plant of tropical Panama, we tested whether nocturnal CO2 uptake and growth were reduced at night temperatures above 20°C. Unlike some CAM model species from habitats with pronounced day-night temperature variations, in A. angustifolia temperature affected little the relative contributions of CAM and C3 photosynthesis to growth. In plants grown under 12 h light/dark regimes of 25/17, 30/22 and 35/27°C, biomass increased with temperature. Maintaining day temperature at 35°C and reducing night temperature from 27 to 17°C markedly lowered growth, a reduction partially reversed when roots were heated to 27°C. Across all treatments, whole-shoot δ13C values ranged between –14.6 and –13.2 ‰, indicating a stable proportion of CO2 was fixed at night, between 75 and 83%. Nocturnal acidification reflected growth, varying between 339 and 393 μmol H+ g–1 fresh mass and 63–87 μmol H+ cm–2. In outdoor open-top chambers, warming the air 3°C above ambient at night did not reduce biomass accumulation. The persistence of a high capacity for nocturnal CO2 fixation at the expense of a limited capacity for switching between C3 and CAM probably makes this Agave, and others like it, potential species for biomass production in seasonally-dry landscapes.

Item ID: 34013
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-4416
Keywords: biofuel, C3 photosynthesis, climate change, crassulacean acid metabolism, open-top chamber
Funders: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2014 00:56
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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