Plant and Soil

, Volume 324, Issue 1–2, pp 329–343 | Cite as

Effect of carbon assimilation on dry weight production and partitioning during vegetative growth

  • Edward GerardeauxEmail author
  • Etienne Saur
  • Julie Constantin
  • Annabel Porté
  • Lionel Jordan-Meille
Regular Article


Potassium deficiency is known to deeply impact dry matter yield through a lower photoassimilates production. The objectives of this study were to find out and classify the principal mechanisms that accounted for the reduction in plant stature. Our approach used the framework of interception-conversion modelling, with focuses on photosynthesis (gas exchange analysis, Farquhar model), plant-water relations (water potential components), and soluble sugars in leaves. Cotton plants were grown during 7 weeks under glasshouse hydroponic conditions and 4 increasing levels of potassium nutrition (K0, K1, K2 and K3). Sugar started to accumulate in mature leaves of K deficient plants at 20 days after emergence (DAE). This was mainly interpreted as the consequence of a low phloem loading for sucrose. At 40 DAE, leaf area and dry weight were reduced in K0 and K1 treatments compared to K2 and K3. Specific leaf weight was much higher in K deficient plants then in non deficient ones. Photosynthesis was reduced but only for severe deficient treatments (K0) and at the last measuring dates (50 DAE). We venture the hypothesis that sugar accumulation may be the key factor affecting nutrition of the growing organs, and photosynthetic capacity of the unfolded and mature leaves.


Potassium Cotton Gossypium hirsutum L. DW partitioning Specific leaf weight Photosynthesis Water potential Sucrose 



dry weight


days after emergence


pressure potential


osmotic potential


the water potential


photosynthetic active radiation


internal CO2 pressure


external CO2 pressure


plant leaf area


radiation use efficiency


electron transport capacity


maximum carboxylation rate


apparent light efficiency of electron transport


dark respiration


specific leaf weight


stomatal conductance


% of leaves DW in total DW





We thank Sylvie Millin for the sugar analysis, Cyril Ardouin for the water status measurements, Pablo Tittonell for english rewording, and the staff of UMR INRA TCEM for element chemical analysis, advice and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Gerardeaux
    • 1
    Email author
  • Etienne Saur
    • 1
  • Julie Constantin
    • 1
  • Annabel Porté
    • 1
  • Lionel Jordan-Meille
    • 1
  1. 1.CIRADMontpellier Cedex 5Franc

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