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Comparative photosynthetic attributes of emmer and modern wheats in response to water and nitrogen supply


A field study was conducted with the aim to elucidate photosynthetic responses of five emmer hulled wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccum) accessions to 30 (N-limited) and 100 kg(N) ha–1 (N-sufficient) conditions at control and drought stress (irrigation after 30–40% and 60–70% depletion of available soil water, respectively). Chlorophyll (Chl) a and Chl b concentrations of the emmer wheats remained unchanged but net photosynthetic rate and dry mass increased and decreased, respectively, when received a sufficient amount of N. Smaller drought-induced decreases in Chl concentration, membrane stability index, and dry mass were concomitant to a greater decrease in intercellular CO2 concentration of emmer compared to the durum (Triticum turgidum) and bread wheats (Triticum aestivum). The lack of negative effect of insufficient N on Chl concentration and dry mass of emmer wheat suggests that this type of wheat possesses an obvious potential for organic farming.

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available soil water





C i :

intercellular CO2 concentration

E :

transpiration rate

Fv/Fm :

maximal quantum efficiency of PSII


stomatal conductance to the CO2


leaf area index


least significant difference

M c :

mesophyll conductance

modern wheats:

free-threshing durum and bread wheats


membrane stability index



P N :

net photosynthetic rate


reactive oxygen species


plant aboveground dry mass


water-use efficiency

WUEi :

intrinsic water-use efficiency


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Correspondence to P. Ehsanzadeh.

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Acknowledgements: Financial support for conducting this study has been granted by the Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.

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Vaghar, M., Ehsanzadeh, P. Comparative photosynthetic attributes of emmer and modern wheats in response to water and nitrogen supply. Photosynthetica 56, 1224–1234 (2018).

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Additional key words

  • chlorophyll
  • fertilizer
  • hulled wheat
  • irrigation
  • water-use efficiency