Effect of Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium Deficiencies on Carbohydrate Pools and Metabolism in Citrus Leaves

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Carbohydrate content and related enzyme activities were determined in leaves of rough-lemon (Citrus volkameriana Ten. & Pasq) plants grown under K, Mg, and Ca deficiencies. Starch content was lower and soluble sugar significantly higher in K-deficient than in control leaves. Magnesium- and Ca-deficient leaves, on the other hand, accumulated large amounts of starch. Electron micrographs also showed a reduction in the number and size of starch grains in chloroplasts of K-deficient leaves, while those of Mg- and Ca-deficient leaves were filled with large starch grains. Total amylase activity increased 3- to 7-fold in K-deficient leaves, with maltose as the major product and small amounts of maltotriose. Electrophoretic separation of amylase isozymes on native gels containing starch or amylopectin showed higher band intensities in K-deficient leaves. Examination of the capacity of leaf extracts to use amylopectin vs. β-limit dextrin indicated that mainly 8-amylase was involved. Acid invertase activity increased 7-fold in K-deficient leaves, while alkaline invertase showed little change.

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