Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 253–264

Photosynthesis and stomatal conductance of potato leaves—effects of leaf age, irradiance, and leaf water potential

  • J. Vos
  • P. J. Oyarzún
Regular Paper


Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L., cv. Bintje) were grown in a naturally lit glasshouse. Laboratory measurements on leaves at three insertion levels showed a decline with leaf age in photosynthetic capacity and in stomatal conductance at near saturating irradiance. Conductance declined somewhat more with age than photosynthesis, resulting in a smaller internal CO2 concentration in older relative to younger leaves. Leaves with different insertion number behaved similarly. The changes in photosynthesis rate and in nitrogen content with leaf age were closely correlated. When PAR exceeded circa 100 W m−2 the rate of photosynthesis and stomatal conductance changed proportionally as indicated by a constant internal CO2 concentration. The photosynthesis-irradiance data were fitted to an asymptotic exponential model. The parameters of the model are AMAX, the rate of photosynthesis at infinite irradiance, and EFF, the slope at low light levels. AMAX declined strongly with leaf age, as did EFF, but to a smaller extent. During drought stress photosynthetic capacity declined directly with decreasing water potential (range −0.6 to −1.1 MPa). Initially, stomatal conductance declined faster than photosynthetic capacity.

Key words drought nitrogen content photosynthesis respiration stomata water relations 



leaf number x, counted in acropetal direction


days after planting


days after leaf appearance


CO2 concentration in the leaf


CO2 concentration in ambient air


leaf water potential


osmotic potential


photosynthetically active radiation


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Vos
    • 1
  • P. J. Oyarzún
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Agrobiological ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Research Station for Arable Farming and Field Production of VegetablesLelystadThe Netherlands

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