Analysing partitioning of recently fixed and of reserve carbon in reproductive Phaseolus vulgaris L. plants

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Plant, Cell and Environment


Partitioning of recently-fixed carbon among plant organs and subsequent distribution of reserve carbon were studied by supplying whole shoots of bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) with 14C-labelled CO2 of constant specific radioactivity throughout a photoperiod. The gain of tracer carbon in each part revealed net accumulation of recently-fixed carbon from direct fixation, import or both. Growth rate coefficients describing the present pattern of plant growth were calculated from ratios of tracer carbon to total carbon present in plant organs and were used to project future plant form. The period 10–20 d after the start of flowering was marked by a major increase in partitioning of recently-fixed carbon to reproductive growth. Growth rates for the plant and its parts during this period were projected on the basis of growth rate coefficients and were found to be similar to rates measured by gravimetric growth analysis. Changes in tracer carbon recovered in individual organs after chase periods of various lengths revealed net Dec.reases for leaves and stems. About 9% of the carbon distributed to fruits came from reserves even in the absence of obvious stress. Respiratory loss during the chase period was determined from the progressive drop in recovery of the original tracer carbon. The methods are being applied to measure current net accumulation rates in studies of sink organ physiology, and to compare partitioning of recently-fixed and of stored carbon in several plant species under defined growth conditions.

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This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Geiger, D. R. and Sheih, W.J. (1988), Analysing partitioning of recently fixed and of reserve carbon in reproductive Phaseolus vulgaris L. plants. Plant, Cell & Environment, 11: 777–783, which has been published in final form at





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Phaseolus Vulgaris L., Fabaceae, bean, steady-state labelling, carbon accumulation, carbon partitioning

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