The influence of irradiance, CO2, and temperature on whole-plant net CO2 exchange rate (NCER) of Rubus idaeus L. `Heritage' micropropagated raspberries was examined. Within the set of environmental conditions examined, irradiation was the most important factor, accounting for 58% of the whole-plant irradiance/CO2 concentration/temperature NCER model variation, followed by CO2 concentration (28%) and temperature (2.5%). Net photosynthesis (Pn) required irradiance levels >600 μmol·m-2·s-1PPF for saturation, greatly increased under CO2 enrichment (up to 1500 μL·L-1), and was optimum at a whole-plant temperature of 20 °C. Temperature effects were partitioned in an experiment using varying air and root-zone temperatures (15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 °C) under saturated light and ambient CO2 levels (350 μL·L-1). Air and root-zone temperature influenced Pn, with maximum rates occurring at an air × root-zone temperature of 17/25 °C. The contribution of air and root-zone temperature to the NCER model varied, with air and root-zone temperature contributing 75% and 24%, respectively, to the total model variation (R2 = 0.96). Shoot dark respiration increased with air and root-zone temperature, and root respiration rates depended on air and root-zone temperature and shoot assimilation rate. Humidity also influenced Pn with a saturated vapor pressure deficit threshold >0.25 kPa resulting in a Pn decrease. Quantifying the physiological response of raspberries to these environmental parameters provides further support to recent findings that cool shoot/warm root conditions are optimum for raspberry plant growth.
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