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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rate of photosynthetic induction in fluctuating light varies widely among genotypes of wheat.

  • Author(s): Salter, William T
  • Merchant, Andrew M
  • Richards, Richard A
  • Trethowan, Richard
  • Buckley, Thomas N
  • et al.

Crop photosynthesis and yield are limited by slow photosynthetic induction in sunflecks. We quantified variation in induction kinetics across diverse genotypes of wheat for the first time. Following a preliminary study that hinted at wide variation in induction kinetics across 58 genotypes, we grew 10 genotypes with contrasting responses in a controlled environment and quantified induction kinetics of carboxylation capacity (Vcmax) from dynamic A versus ci curves after a shift from low to high light (from 50 µmol m-2 s-1 to 1500 µmol m-2 s-1), in five flag leaves per genotype. Within-genotype median time for 95% induction (t95) of Vcmax varied 1.8-fold, from 5.2 min to 9.5 min. Our simulations suggest that non-instantaneous induction reduces daily net carbon gain by up to 15%, and that breeding to speed up Vcmax induction in the slowest of our 10 genotypes to match that in the fastest genotype could increase daily net carbon gain by up to 3.4%, particularly for leaves in mid-canopy positions (cumulative leaf area index ≤1.5 m2 m-2), those that experience predominantly short-duration sunflecks, and those with high photosynthetic capacities.

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