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Net carbon dioxide exchange rates in Pisum sativum L as influenced by phosphorus and nitrogen nutrition Roelants van Baronaigien, Hendrik Willem Marius

Abstract

Two varieties of Pisum sativum, L, Jade and Olympic, were grown for a period of four weeks from seeding, under constant light intensity and diurnally fluctuating temperatures, while being subjected to varying-artificially induced-degrees of nutrient stress. Net carbon dioxide exchange rates were measured in order to determine the influence of excess or deficient nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations within the nutrient medium. Carbon dioxide assimilation rates, under various degrees of nutrient stress were highly variable, both within the same variety and between varieties tested. Microchemical determinations of chlorophylls a and b, and of inorganic phosphate, nitrate and nitrite were carried out in order to determine the relationship of some physiological aspects of mineral deficiency to carbon dioxide assimilation. Investigations as to changes in stomatal index (I) as a result of nutrient stress also showed a large amount of variation. Results obtained indicated that variety Jade was very sensitive to nitrogen deficiency within the rooting medium, as evidenced by a large increase in stomatal index values with nitrogen deficiency. Olympic showed a greater sensitivity to phosphorus deficiency than did Jade. Neither total chlorophyll content, nor chlorophyll a/b ratio appeared to exert any deciding influence upon net carbon dioxide assimilation. A relationship appeared to exist between CO₂ assimilation and quantities of nitrate and/or nitrite present within the photosynthetic tissues of plants tested. This experiment was unable to fully explain the reason(s) for the great degree of variability of net CO₂ exchange rates extant even between plant specimens growing in the same nutrient medium. Some technical improvements applicable to the present experiments as well as some alternative experimental procedures are discussed.

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