Net photosynthesis, dark respiration, chlorophyll and carbohydrate content, and leaf and shoot growth in plants of evergreen olive (Olea europaea L.) grown under controlled conditions were measured to assess changes in carbon balance during leaf development of the 6th, 12th, and 16th node (from the base, first flush) through expansion to maturity. Shoot and leaves expanded in a sigmoid pattern with differences among nodes. Photosynthesis varied with leaf development; young leaves had low CO2 assimilation rates that were reflected in their chlorophyll concentration. Net daily CO2 assimilation was negative in young expanding leaves. The sink-source transition, defined to be the time when the increase in daily carbohydrate exchange rate exceeds the daily increase in leaf carbohydrate content, occurred before full leaf expansion, between 10% and 30% expansion depending on the node.
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