Is photosynthesis related to concentrations of nitrogen and Rubisco in leaves of australian native plants

C.R. Warren, M.A. Adams, Z. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The relationships among light-saturated photosynthesis and concentrations of nitrogen and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco, EC 4.1.1.39) in Australian native plants are poorly known, primarily due to the difficulty of extracting and analysing Rubisco from such species. Rubisco may be rapidly quantified in crude extracts of plant tissue by capillary electrophoresis (CE); however, the presence of phenolic compounds in many Australian native plants limits the use of these methods. The addition of insoluble polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP) during leaf extractions effectively removed phenols permitting quantitation of Rubisco. Relationships among maximum rates of photosynthesis and concentrations of nitrogen and Rubisco were then investigated in ten species native to Australia. Total nitrogen and the major pools of N in foliage varied greatly between species. Equally, within species N-partitioning was highly plastic, as affected by different concentrations and forms of N applied in sand culture (0.5 or 8 mM, nitrate or ammonium). In Hakea prostrata, for example, the proportion of total N present as soluble proteins varied between 43 and 71%, while the proportion of total N present as Rubisco N ranged between 9.4 and 30.0%, and the contribution of Rubisco to soluble proteins varied between 21 and 42%. The measured concentration of Rubisco varied between 40% and 600% of that estimated from enzyme kinetics and measured rates of photosynthesis. Generally there was a large 'excess' of Rubisco, and in only two cases was the measured concentration of Rubisco significantly less than predicted. Total N, soluble protein and Rubisco concentrations were poorly related to maximum rates of photosynthesis, while the relationship between photosynthesis and Rubisco was worse than that with N, primarily due to the plants' variable over-investment in Rubisco.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-416
JournalAustralian Journal Plant Physiology
Volume27
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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