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Rajasekaran R. Lada, F. Christine Pettipas, Steve Kyei-Boahen, Robert Gordon and Tess Astatkie

Genotypes and environmental parameters interactively act on plants and modify their yield responses through modifying photosynthetic processes. In order to optimize yield, it is critical to understand the photosynthetic behavior of the crop as altered by genotypes and environment. Leaf gas exchange parameters of carrot (Daucus carota L.) cultivars Cascade, Carson, Oranza, and Red Core Chantenay (RCC) were examined in response to various irradiances, fertility levels, moisture regimes, and to elevated CO2 concentrations. Leaf net photosynthetic rate (PN), stomatal conductance (gs), and transpiration rate (E) were measured. Cultivars responded similarly to increasing PAR and CO2 concentrations and did not differ in photosynthetic parameters. Increasing PAR from 100 to 1000 μmol·m-2·s-1 increased PN, which did not reach saturation. The gs and E increased to a peak between 600 and 800 μmol·m-2·s-1, then rapidly declined, resulting in a sharp increase in water use efficiency (WUE). Increasing CO2 concentrations from 50 to 1050 μmol·mol-1 increased PN until saturation at 650 μmol·mol-1. The gs and E increased to a peak at 350 μmol·mol-1 and then declined. WUE increased linearly with increasing CO2. Carrots exposed to drought over a period of 5 days decreased PN and E. The PN decrease was cultivar specific. Nutrient concentrations of 0 to 400 ppm gave a similar pattern of decrease for PN, E, and gs. Treatment of 50 ppm had the highest PN, E, and gs. The WUE generally increased with increasing nutrient concentration.