Contributions of radiation interception and radiation-use efficiency to biomass decrease due to potassium starvation depend on potassium deficiency intensities

  • Yonghui Pan
  • Zhifeng Lu
  • Xiaokun Li
  • Rihuan Cong
  • Tao RenEmail author
  • Jianwei Lu
Original Article


Yield loss due to insufficient potassium fertilizer supply has been well documented; however, the information about the negative effect of potassium deficiency on crop yield caused by ecophysiological determinants is not enough. A field experiment with three K treatments (severe K deficiency treatment, K1; moderate K deficiency treatment, K2; and sufficient K supply treatment, K3) was conducted to (1) assess the effects of potassium deficiency on green leaf area index (GLAI) reduction; (2) quantify the contributions of single leaf area, leaf senescence, and leaf appearance to GLAI reduction under potassium deficiency; (3) reveal the changes in the contributions of accumulated radiation interception (RIacc) and radiation-use efficiency (RUE) to above-ground biomass (AM) decrease of oilseed rape under different K supplies. GLAI was restrained due to potassium deficiency, with a reduction ranging from 10.6 to 45.4%. The reduced single leaf area and accelerated leaf senescence caused by potassium starvation accounted for 5.9–23.7% and 2.4–29.0% reduction in GLAI, but delayed leaf appearance rate contributed little. The RIacc during the seedling stage in the K1, K2, and K3 treatments was 101.2, 110.7, and 120.0 MJ m− 2, respectively, and the RUE in the K1, K2, and K3 treatments was 1.03, 2.22, and 2.98 g MJ− 1, respectively, which caused a 61.7% and 48.2% reduction of the final harvested AM in the K1 and K2 treatments compared with the K3 treatment. When AM reduction was less than 24.8%, RIacc was the main determining factor; however, it transferred to RUE when biomass decreased more. In conclusion, GLAI decreased due to potassium starvation was mainly caused by the reduced single leaf area and accelerated leaf senescence, and the relative contribution of RIacc and RUE to AM decline was related to the degree of potassium deficiency.


Potassium deficiency Radiation interception Radiation use efficiency Oilseed rape 



Above-ground biomass


Fractional photosynthetically active radiation interception


Green leaf area index


Light extinction coefficient


Accelerated leaf senescence


Leaf area index


Delayed leaf appearance rate


Reduced size of individual leaf areas


Daily photosynthetically active radiation


Daily PAR intercepted by the oilseed rape canopy


Net photosynthesis rate per unit leaf area


Accumulated intercepted radiation


Radiation-use efficiency

S1, 2, and 3

Stage 1, 2, and 3


Daily mean temperature


Base temperature


Thermal times



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31672231) and the earmarked fund for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-12).

Supplementary material

11738_2019_2834_MOESM1_ESM.doc (603 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 603 KB)


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yonghui Pan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhifeng Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaokun Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rihuan Cong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tao Ren
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jianwei Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Microelement Research of CenterHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Arable Land Conservation (Middle and Lower Reaches of Yangtze River)Ministry of AgricultureWuhanChina

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