Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 257–263 | Cite as

Effects of low nitrogen supply on relationships between photosynthesis and nitrogen status at different leaf position in wheat seedlings

  • Dandan Li
  • Mengyu Tian
  • Jian Cai
  • Dong Jiang
  • Weixing Cao
  • Tingbo Dai
Original paper


Hydroponic experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of low nitrogen (N) nutrition on photosynthesis and its relationships with N status in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Two wheat cultivars, Zaoyangmai and Yangmai158, differing in low N nutrition tolerances, were used. The results show that under low N nutrition the area of the first top leaf was significantly reduced, while there was no significant difference in the top second and third leaf areas compared with the control for either cultivar. The net photosynthetic rate and chlorophyll content were significantly reduced in the top three leaves of Zaoyangmai, while no significant difference in these factors was observed in the top first and second leaves of Yangmai158 compared with control under N-limited conditions. The effective quantum yield of photosystem II (PSII) photochemistry and the maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry were only slightly altered in both cultivars, indicating that PSII was not damaged by low N nutrition. In addition, the non-photochemical quenching coefficient increased significantly in the top three leaves of Zaoyangmai, and only in the top third leaf of Yangmai158 under N-limited conditions. Furthermore, the ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and soluble protein contents decreased significantly in the top second and third leaves of Zaoyangmai, while no significant difference was observed in the top first and second leaves of Yangmai158 between low N nutrition and control. We concluded that in Yangmai158, N status changed less, and it maintained almost normal photosynthesis in young leaves, thus Yangmai158 could be more tolerance to low N nutrition.


Wheat Low nitrogen Leaf position Chlorophyll fluorescence photosynthesis Rubisco 



Maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry


Stomatal conductance




Photosystem II


Net photosynthetic rate


Photochemical quenching coefficient


Non-photochemical quenching coefficient


Effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry



We acknowledge generous financial support from the Ph.D. Programs Foundation of Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 20090097110014) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30871481).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dandan Li
    • 1
  • Mengyu Tian
    • 1
  • Jian Cai
    • 1
  • Dong Jiang
    • 1
  • Weixing Cao
    • 1
  • Tingbo Dai
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology, Ecology and Production Management, Ministry of AgricultureNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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