Growth rate and biomass partitioning of wildtype and low-gibberellin tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants growing at a high and low nitrogen supply

O.W. Nagel, H. Konings, Hans Lambers

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    Abstract

    The growth-promoting effects of gibberellins (GAs) on plants are well documented, but a complete growth analysis at the whole plant level on plants with an altered Gh biosynthesis has never been reported. In the present work, the relative growth rate (RGR), biomass partitioning and morphological parameters of wildtype (Wt) tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv, Moneymaker) plants were compared with those of isogenic (gib) mutants with a reduced biosynthesis of gibberellins, CA deficiency reduced RGR and specific leaf area (SLA, leaf area per unit leaf mass) and increased the net assimilation rate (NAR, the rate of biomass increment per unit leaf area). Despite the free access to nitrogen in the rooting medium, the low-GA mutants had a much higher root mass ratio (RMR, the root mass per unit plant biomass) than the Wt, suggesting that the mutants were disturbed in their growth response to nitrate supply. The experiment was repeated at a low exponential nitrate supply, which forced all plants to grow at the same low RGR. The persistence of the differences in RMR at low N-supply indicated that the high RMR of the mutants was a direct effect of low GA, which was independent of nitrate supply. Because the low N-supply increased the RMRs of all genotypes to the same extent, the response of RMR to N-supply does not seem to depend on GA. Although many of the traits of the slow growing Gh mutants were very similar to those of inherently slow growing plant species from unproductive habitats, gibberellins are unlikely to be a main determinant of a plant's potential RGR.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)33-39
    JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
    Volume111
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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