Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 506–518 | Cite as

Light Restriction Delays Leaf Senescence in Winter Oilseed Rape (Brassica napus L.)

  • Sophie Brunel-MuguetEmail author
  • Patrick Beauclair
  • Marie-Paule Bataillé
  • Jean-Christophe Avice
  • Jacques Trouverie
  • Philippe Etienne
  • Alain Ourry


Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is a crop with a complex aerial architecture that can cause self-shading leading to a vertical light gradient over the foliage. Mutual shading between neighboring plants at a high sowing density also results in an alteration of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) absorption by lower leaves. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact that light restriction on lower leaves has on shoot architecture, biomass production and allocation, nitrogen (N) fluxes, and progression of sequential senescence. Field-grown plants were collected at the end of the vegetative rest period and grown in hydroponic conditions until pod maturity. A shading treatment corresponding to a 43.4 % reduction of PAR was applied at the early flowering stage. N uptake and fluxes of N allocation and remobilization were determined by supplying K15NO3 in the nutrient solution. Photosynthesis and expression of SAG12 and Cab genes (indicators of leaf senescence progression) were also analyzed on different leaf ranks. The results showed that shading enhanced leaf development on the main stem and ramifications to optimize light capture. The expression pattern of the SAG12/Cab molecular indicator suggested a delay in leaf senescence that allowed leaf life span to be extended resulting in a more efficient leaf compound remobilization, with lower N residual contents in fallen leaves under shading. N uptake increased and N remobilization fluxes were enhanced from source organs (leaves and stem) toward sink organs (flowers). Profuse branching and late senescing varieties would be of interest for further selection programs under high sowing densities.


Photosynthesis Leaf senescence Nitrogen Oilseed rape Shading 



The authors are grateful to Thomas Pelletier, in charge of the farm at Fumichon (Vaux sur Aure, France), who provided 300 oilseed rape plants after the winter vegetative rest period in February 2003. Thanks also go to P. Beauclair and L. Rossato for involvement in their experimental design and harvests.

Supplementary material

344_2013_9317_MOESM1_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 32 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie Brunel-Muguet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Patrick Beauclair
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marie-Paule Bataillé
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jean-Christophe Avice
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jacques Trouverie
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Philippe Etienne
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alain Ourry
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Normandie UniversityCaenFrance
  2. 2.UNICAENCaenFrance
  3. 3.INRACaenFrance

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