Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 31:163 | Cite as

Growth and physiological responses of Picea asperata seedlings to elevated temperature and to nitrogen fertilization

Original Paper


Picea asperata is a dominant species in the subalpine coniferous forests distributed in eastern edges of Tibetan Plateau and upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The paper mainly identified the short-term influences of experimental warming, nitrogen fertilization, and their combination on growth and physiological performances of Picea asperata seedlings. These seedlings were subjected to two levels of temperature (ambient; infrared heater warming) and two nitrogen levels (0; 25 g m−2 a−1 N) for 6 months. We used a free air temperature increase of overhead infrared heater to raise both air and soil temperature by 2.1 and 2.6°C, respectively. The temperature increment induced an obvious enhancement in biomass accumulation and the maximum net photosynthetic rate, and decreased AOS and MDA level under ambient nitrogen conditions. Whereas, negative effects of experimental warming on growth and physiology was observed under nitrogen fertilization condition. On the other hand, nitrogen fertilization significantly improved plant growth in unwarmed plots, by stimulating total biomass, maximum net photosynthetic rate (A max), antioxidant compounds, as well as reducing the content of AOS and MDA. However, in warmed plots, nitrogen addition clearly decreased A max, antioxidant compounds, and induced higher accumulation of AOS and MDA. Obviously, the beneficial effects of sole nitrogen on growth and physiology of Picea asperata seedlings could not be magnified by artificial warming.


Picea asperata Warming Nitrogen Growth Physiological performance 



Active oxygen species


Ascorbate peroxidase


Ascorbic acid




Hydrogen peroxide


Leaf mass ratio




Membrane stability index


Superoxide radical




Root mass ratio


Stem mass ratio


Superoxide dismutase


Unwarmed fertilized


Unwarmed unfertilized


Warmed fertilized


Warmed unfertilized



This study was supported by the Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30530630), the Talent Plan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and “Knowledge Innovation Engineering” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Maoxian Ecological Station, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecological Restoration and Rehabilitation Center, Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic China

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