Stomatal and photosynthetic responses to variable light in sorghum, soybeans and eastern gammagrass

TitleStomatal and photosynthetic responses to variable light in sorghum, soybeans and eastern gammagrass
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsFay, PA, Knapp, AK
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Pagination613 -620
Accession NumberKNZ00486
KeywordsA:Ci curves, eastern gamagrass, Glycine max, induction, light, oxygen evolution, photosynthesis, sorghum, Sorghum bicolor, soybean, Stomatal Conductance, Tripsacum dactyloides, Water use efficiency

We studied photosynthetic and stomatal responses of grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench cv. Pioneer 8500), soybean (Glycine max L. cv. Flyer) and eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides L.) during experimental sun and shade periods simulating summer cloud cover. Leaf gas exchange measurements of field plants showed that short-term (5 min) shading of leaves to 300–400 μmol m−2 s−1 photosynthetic photon flux density reduced photosynthesis, leaf temperature, stomatal conductance, transpiration and water use efficiency and increased intercellular CO2 partial pressure. In all species, photosynthetic recovery was delayed when leaves were reilluminated, apparently by stomatal closure. The strongest stomatal response was in soybean. Photosynthetic recovery was studied further with soybeans grown indoors (maximum photosynthetic photon flux density 1 200 μmol m−2 s−1). Plants grown indoors had responses to shade similar to those of field plants, except for brief nonstomatal limitation immediately after reillumination. These responses indicated the importance of the light environment during leaf development on assimilation responses to variable light, and suggested different limitations on carbon assimilation in different parts of the soybean canopy. Photosynthetic oxygen evolution recovered immediately upon reillumination, indicating that the light reactions did not limit soybean photosynthetic recovery. While shade periods caused stomatal closure and reduced carbon gain and water loss in all species, the consequences for carbon gain/water loss were greatest in soybean. The occurrence of stomatal closure in all three species may arise from their shared phenologies and herbaceous growth forms.