Phytochrome Regulation of Photosynthate Partitioning in Watermelon Plants Exposed to End-of-day Light Treatments

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Clemson Univ., Clemson, SC 29634

End-of-day (EOD) light treatments were used to study phytochrome involvement in photosynthesis and photosynthate partitioning in watermelon plants. Two-week-old plants were treated with brief low-intensity red (R) or far-red (FR) light for 9 days at the end of daily light period. Petiole elongation in the first two leaves was the first significant growth change in FR-treated plants compared to other plants after 3 days of treatments. This petiole elongation was accompanied by significantly higher photosynthate partitioning to petioles, even without increase in above-ground dry weight of plants. Net CO2 assimilation rate in the second leaf was significantly higher in FR treated plants on a weight basis after 3 days of treatments. Far-red-treated plants had lower chlorophyll content per leaf area and higher stem specific weight compared to R-treated plants after 3 and 6 days of treatments, respectively. Transpiration and stomatal conduction were higher in FR-treated plants compared to other treatments after 3 days of treatments. The EOD FR regulated growth and photosynthate partitioning patterns were reversible when FR treated plants were immediately followed by R. This implies EOD R: FR ratio acting through the phytochrome regulates the growth and development processes in watermelon plants.

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