Interactions of CO2 Enrichment and Temperature on Carbohydrate Production and Accumulation in Muskmelon Leaves

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 USDA/ARS Systems Research Laboratory, BARC-W, Beltsville, MD 20705
  • | 2 USDA/ARS Remote Sensing Research Laboratory, BARC-W, Beltsville, MD 20705
  • | 3 P.O.B. 1025, Research and Development Authority, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva, Israel 84110

We examined how temperature and stage of vegetative growth affect carbohydrate production and accumulation in Cucumis melo L. `Haogen' grown at various CO2 concentrations ([CO2]). Carbohydrate production was measured by net assimilation rate either on a leaf-area basis (NARa) or a leaf dry-weight basis (NARw); carbohydrate accumulation was measured by leaf starch plus sugar content. Twenty-four- and 35-day-old muskmelon plants were grown for 11 days in artificially lighted cabinets at day/night temperatures of 20/20 or 40/20C and at [CO2] of 300 or 1500 μl·liter-1. NARa and NARw both increased with increasing [CO2], but the CO2 effect was smaller at low temperature, especially for plants at the later stage of vegetative growth. NARw was a better indicator of total dry-weight gain than was NARa. Both suboptimal temperatures and CO2 enrichment caused carbohydrates to accumulate in the leaves at both stages of vegetative growth. NARw was correlated negatively with leaf starch plus sugar content. The rate of decrease in NARw with increasing leaf starch plus sugar content was significantly greater for CO2-enriched plants. Leaf starch plus sugar content >0.03 to 0.04 kg·kg-1 of leaf residual dry weight at the end of a dark period may indicate that temperature is suboptimal for growth. Plants grown at the same temperature had higher leaf starch plus sugar content if they were CO2-enriched than if grown in ambient [CO2], suggesting that an optimal temperature for growth in ambient [CO2] may be suboptimal in elevated [CO2].

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