CARBON DIOXIDE EXCHANGE OF A WHEAT STAND GROWN IN NASA'S BIOMASS PRODUCTION CHAMBER

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  • 1 Dept. of Plant & Soil Sciences, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst MA 01003
  • 2 The Bionetics Corp., Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
  • 3 NASA Biomedical Operations and Res., Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899.

A wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Yecora Rojo) stand was grown using nutrient film culture in the closed conditions of NASA's Biomass Production Chamber. Rates of photosynthesis and respiration of the entire stand (about 20 m2) were determined daily using a regime of 20 hr light/4 hr dark, 20 C light/16 C dark an average PPF of 600 μmol/m2/s from HPS lamps, and a CO2 cone of 1000 ppm. Fractional interception of PPF by the stand reached a maximum of 0.96 at 24 days from planting. Rates of photosynthesis were constant throughout the photoperiod as determined by short term drawdowns of CO2 throughout the photoperiod. Drawdown rates of CO2 were correlated with rates determined by logging of mass flow of CO2 injected during chamber closure. Photosynthetic drawdowns of CO2 indicated that photosynthesis was not saturated at 1000 ppm CO2 and that the CO2 compensation point was about 50 ppm. Whole stand light compensation points were 200 to 250 μmol/m2/s between days 13 and 70 and then increased rapidly during senescence.

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