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Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 183–200 | Cite as

Co-regulation of photosynthetic processes under potassium deficiency across CO2 levels in soybean: mechanisms of limitations and adaptations

  • Shardendu K. Singh
  • Vangimalla R. Reddy
Original Article

Abstract

Plants photosynthesis-related traits are co-regulated to capture light and CO2 to optimize the rate of CO2 assimilation (A). The rising CO2 often benefits, but potassium (K) deficiency adversely affects A that contributes to the majority of plant biomass. To evaluate mechanisms of photosynthetic limitations and adaptations, soybean was grown under controlled conditions with an adequate (control, 5.0 mM) and two K-deficient (moderate, 0.50 and severe, 0.02 mM) levels under ambient (aCO2; 400 µmol mol−1) and elevated CO2 (eCO2; 800 µmol mol−1). Results showed that under severe K deficiency, pigments, leaf absorption, processes of light and dark reactions, and CO2 diffusion through stomata and mesophyll were down co-regulated with A while light compensation point increased and photorespiration, alternative electron fluxes, and respiration were up-regulated. However, under moderate K deficiency, these traits were well co-regulated with the sustained A without any obvious limitations amid ≈ 50% reduction in leaf K level. Primary mechanism of K limitation to A was either biochemical processes (Lb ≈ 60%) under control and moderate K deficiency or the CO2 diffusion limitations (DL ≈ 70%) with greater impacts of mesophyll than stomatal pathways under severe K deficiency. The eCO2 increased DL while lessened the Lb under K deficiency. Adaptation strategies to severe K deficiency included an enhanced K utilization efficiency (KUE), and reduction of photosystem II excitation pressure by decreasing photosynthetic pigments, light absorption, and photochemical quenching while increasing photorespiration and alternative electron fluxes. The eCO2 also stimulated A and KUE when K deficiency was not severe. Thus, plants responded to K deficiency by a coordinated regulation of photosynthetic processes to optimize A, and eCO2 failed to alleviate the DL in severely K-deficient plants.

Keywords

Alternative electron sink Carboxylation CO2 diffusion Glycine max Photochemistry Photorespiration 

Abbreviations

A

The CO2 assimilation rate

AG

Gross CO2 assimilation rate (i.e., A + RdYin)

AImax

The A obtained at the Imax beyond which there is no significant change in A

A/Ci

The curve referring to the A response to the Ci

A/PAR

The curve referring to the A response to PAR

Astd

Standardized A as estimated at ≈ 400 µmol mol−1 Ci

Ca

Ambient or external CO2 concentration

Ci

Sub-stomatal CO2 concentration

Cc

Chloroplastic CO2 concentration

DL

Diffusional limitation (i.e., Ls + Lm)

\({F^{\prime}_{\text{v}}}/{F^{\prime}_{\text{m}}}\)

Quantum efficiency by oxidized (open) PSII reaction center in light

gs

Stomatal conductance

gm

Mesophyll conductance

J

Potential rate of electron transport to support NADP + reduction for RuBP regeneration

JAlt

The alternative electron flux as the proportion of total electron fluxes (i.e., [(JFJG)/JF] × 100)

JF

Fluorescence-based electron transport rate or total electron flux (i.e., s × PAR × ΦPSII)

JG

Gas exchange-based electron transport rate (i.e., AG × 4 under NPR)

K

Potassium

KUE

Potassium utilization efficiency

Icomp

Light compensation point

Imax

Light saturation point

Ls, Lm, Lb

Stomatal, mesophyll, and biochemical limitations, respectively

NPR

Non-photorespiratory conditions (i.e., photosynthetic measurement using 2% O2)

PAR

Photosynthetically active radiation

PCR

Photosynthetic carbon reduction

PCO

Photorespiratory carbon oxidation

PSII

Photosystem II

qP

Photochemical quenching

Rd

Dark respiration in the light

RdYin

Day respiration (i.e., respiratory CO2 release other than by photorespiration) as estimated under NPR condition using Yin et al. (2009, 2011) method

Rubisco

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase

RuBP

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate

s

The parameter referring to the leaf absorptance of incident PAR by photosynthetic pigments and excitation partitioning to PSII

TChl

Total chlorophyll concentration

TPU

Triose phosphate utilization

\({V_{{{\text{C}}_{{\text{max}}}}}}\)

Maximal rate of carboxylation

\({\Phi _{{\text{C}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}}}}\)

Quantum yield of CO2 fixation (i.e., A + RdYin/PAR)

ΦI200

Quantum yield of CO2 fixation at PAR 200 µmol m−2 s−1 (i.e., form the initial slope of the A/PAR curve)

ΦPSII

Photochemical yield of PSII electron transport rate

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Mr. Darryl Baxam (Engineering Technician) and Jackson Fisher (Biological Science) for the help in maintaining the growth chambers and measurements, and Ms. Mariam Manzoor and Shruti Bhatt (undergraduate students) for providing assistance during the experiment.

Supplementary material

11120_2018_490_MOESM1_ESM.docx (121 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 121 KB)

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© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Adaptive Cropping Systems LaboratoryUSDA-ARSBeltsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Wye Research and Education CenterUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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