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Anthony W. Whiley and Bruce Schaffer

The influence of shoot age on 14C partitioning in potted avocado (Persea americana var. americana Mill.) trees was determined. The oldest leaf of actively growing shoots and the youngest leaf of previously matured shoots were exposed to 14CO2 18 and 34 days after budbreak (DABB) of new shoots. At these times, treated leaves had a positive net CO2 assimilation rate and, therefore, were considered to be net C exporters. Sixteen days after 14C exposure, separate plant tissues were harvested, dried, weighed, and oxidized. The percentage of 14C in each tissue was determined by liquid scintillation spectrometry. Photoassimilates were translocated acropetally and basipetally from all treated leaves. However, at 18 DABB, developing leaves of actively growing shoots seemed to be the strongest sink for C assimilated by the oldest leaf of these shoots, whereas the roots were the strongest sink for C assimilated by the youngest leaf of the previously matured shoots. By 34 DABB, roots were the strongest sink for C assimilated by leaves of new and previously matured shoots. These data are useful in developing improved management strategies for controlling phytophthora root rot (incited by Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands) in avocados by systemic phosphonate fungicides translocated in the photoassimilate pathway. Thus, phosphonates should be applied after shoots have matured and most of the canopy is in a quiescent state for maximum translocation to the roots.

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Bruce Schaffer, Anthony W. Whiley, Christopher Searle, and Robert J. Nissen

The effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment and root restriction on net CO2 assimilation (A), dry mass partitioning, and leaf mineral element concentrations in `Kensington' and `Tommy Atkins' mango (Mangifera indica L.) were investigated. Trees were grown in controlled-environment glasshouse rooms at ambient CO2 concentrations of 350 or 700 μmol·mol-1. At each CO2 concentration, trees were grown in 8-L containers, which restricted root growth, or grown aeroponically in 200-L root mist chambers, which did not restrict root growth. Trees grown in 350 μmol·mol-1 CO2 were more efficient at assimilating CO2 than trees grown in 700 μmol·mol-1 CO2. However, total plant and organ dry mass was generally higher for plants grown at 700 μmol·mol-1 CO2 due to increased A as a result of a greater internal partial pressure of CO2 (Ci) in leaves of plants in the CO2 enriched environment. Root restriction reduced A resulting in decreased organ and plant dry mass. In root-restricted plants, reduced A and dry matter accumulation offset the increases in these variables resulting from atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Atmospheric CO2 enrichment and root restriction did not affect dry mass partitioning. Leaf mineral element concentrations were generally lower for trees grown at the higher ambient CO2 concentration, presumably due to a dilution effect from an increased growth rate.

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Anthony W. Whiley, Christopher Searle, Bruce Schaffer, and B. Nigel Wolstenholme

Leaf gas exchange of avocado (Persea americana Mill.) and mango (Mangifera indica L.) trees in containers and in an orchard (field-grown trees) was measured over a range of photosynthetic photon fluxes (PPF) and ambient CO2 concentrations (Ca). Net CO2 assimilation (A) and intercellular partial pressure of CO2 (Ci) were determined for all trees in early autumn (noncold-stressed leaves) when minimum daily temperatures were ≥14 °C, and for field-grown trees in winter (cold-stressed leaves) when minimum daily temperatures were ≤10 °C. Cold-stressed trees of both species had lower maximum CO2 assimilation rates (Amax), light saturation points (QA), CO2 saturation points (CaSAT) and quantum yields than leaves of noncold-stressed, field-grown trees. The ratio of variable to maximum fluorescence (Fv/Fm) was ≈50% lower for leaves of cold-stressed, field-grown trees than for leaves of nonstressed, field-grown trees, indicating chill-induced photoinhibition of leaves had occurred in winter. The data indicate that chill-induced photoinhibition of A and/or sink limitations caused by root restriction in container-grown trees can limit carbon assimilation in avocado and mango trees.