Background and Aims
Fruit set in indeterminate plant species largely depends on the balance between source and sink strength. Plants of these species show fluctuations in fruit set during the growing season. It was tested whether differences in fruit sink strength among the cultivars explained the differences in fruit-set patterns.
Capsicum was chosen as a model plant. Six cultivars with differences in fruit set, fruit size and plant growth were evaluated in a greenhouse experiment. Fruit-set patterns, generative and vegetative sink strength, source strength and the source : sink ratio at fruit set were determined. Sink strength was quantified as potential growth rate. Fruit set was related to total fruit sink strength and the source : sink ratio. The effect of differences observed in above-mentioned parameters on fruit-set patterns was examined using a simple simulation model.
Sink strengths of individual fruits differed greatly among cultivars. Week-to-week fruit set in large-fruited cultivars fluctuated due to large fluctuations in total fruit sink strength, but in small-fruited cultivars, total fruit sink strength and fruit set were relatively constant. Large variations in week-to-week fruit set were correlated with a low fruit-set percentage. The source : sink threshold for fruit set was higher in large-fruited cultivars. Simulations showed that within the range of parameter values found in the experiment, fruit sink strength and source : sink threshold for fruit set had the largest impact on fruit set: an increase in these parameters decreased the average percentage fruit set and increased variation in weekly fruit set. Both were needed to explain the fruit-set patterns observed. The differences observed in the other parameters (e.g. source strength) had a lower effect on fruit set.
Both individual fruit sink strength and the source : sink threshold for fruit set were needed to explain the differences observed between fruit-set patterns of the six cultivars.
Fruit-set patterns; fruit sink strength; source : sink ratio; threshold for fruit set; Capsicum annuum; cultivars
Background and aims
Many indeterminate plants can have wide fluctuations in the pattern of fruit-set and harvest. Fruit-set in these types of plants depends largely on the balance between source (assimilate supply) and sink strength (assimilate demand) within the plant. This study aims to evaluate the ability of functional–structural plant models to simulate different fruit-set patterns among Capsicum cultivars through source–sink relationships.
A greenhouse experiment of six Capsicum cultivars characterized with different fruit weight and fruit-set was conducted. Fruit-set patterns and potential fruit sink strength were determined through measurement. Source and sink strength of other organs were determined via the GREENLAB model, with a description of plant organ weight and dimensions according to plant topological structure established from the measured data as inputs. Parameter optimization was determined using a generalized least squares method for the entire growth cycle.
Key Results and Conclusions
Fruit sink strength differed among cultivars. Vegetative sink strength was generally lower for large-fruited cultivars than for small-fruited ones. The larger the size of the fruit, the larger variation there was in fruit-set and fruit yield. Large-fruited cultivars need a higher source–sink ratio for fruit-set, which means higher demand for assimilates. Temporal heterogeneity of fruit-set affected both number and yield of fruit. The simulation study showed that reducing heterogeneity of fruit-set was obtained by different approaches: for example, increasing source strength; decreasing vegetative sink strength, source–sink ratio for fruit-set and flower appearance rate; and harvesting individual fruits earlier before full ripeness. Simulation results showed that, when we increased source strength or decreased vegetative sink strength, fruit-set and fruit weight increased. However, no significant differences were found between large-fruited and small-fruited groups of cultivars regarding the effects of source and vegetative sink strength on fruit-set and fruit weight. When the source–sink ratio at fruit-set decreased, the number of fruit retained on the plant increased competition for assimilates with vegetative organs. Therefore, total plant and vegetative dry weights decreased, especially for large-fruited cultivars. Optimization study showed that temporal heterogeneity of fruit-set and ripening was predicted to be reduced when fruits were harvested earlier. Furthermore, there was a 20 % increase in the number of extra fruit set.
Source–sink relationship; fruit-set pattern; functional–structural models; Capsicum annuum
Background and Aims
The strong influence of environment and functioning on plant organogenesis has been well documented by botanists but is poorly reproduced in most functional–structural models. In this context, a model of interactions is proposed between plant organogenesis and plant functional mechanisms.
The GreenLab model derived from AMAP models was used. Organogenetic rules give the plant architecture, which defines an interconnected network of organs. The plant is considered as a collection of interacting ‘sinks’ that compete for the allocation of photosynthates coming from ‘sources’. A single variable characteristic of the balance between sources and sinks during plant growth controls different events in plant development, such as the number of branches or the fruit load.
Variations in the environmental parameters related to light and density induce changes in plant morphogenesis. Architecture appears as the dynamic result of this balance, and plant plasticity expresses itself very simply at different levels: appearance of branches and reiteration, number of organs, fructification and adaptation of ecophysiological characteristics.
The modelling framework serves as a tool for theoretical botany to explore the emergence of specific morphological and architectural patterns and can help to understand plant phenotypic plasticity and its strategy in response to environmental changes.
Trophic plasticity; plant growth; functional–structural models; dynamic system; interactions; GreenLab
Background and Aims
To model plasticity of plants in their environment, a new version of the functional–structural model GREENLAB has been developed with full interactions between architecture and functioning. Emergent properties of this model were revealed by simulations, in particular the automatic generation of rhythms in plant development. Such behaviour can be observed in natural phenomena such as the appearance of fruit (cucumber or capsicum plants, for example) or branch formation in trees.
In the model, a single variable, the source–sink ratio controls different events in plant architecture. In particular, the number of fruits and branch formation are determined as increasing functions of this ratio. For some sets of well-chosen parameters of the model, the dynamical evolution of the ratio during plant growth generates rhythms.
Key Results and Conclusions
Cyclic patterns in branch formation or fruit appearance emerge without being forced by the model. The model is based on the theory of discrete dynamical systems. The mathematical formalism helps us to explain rhythm generation and to control the behaviour of the system. Rhythms can appear during both the exponential and stabilized phases of growth, but the causes are different as shown by an analytical study of the system. Simulated plant behaviours are very close to those observed on real plants. With a small number of parameters, the model gives very interesting results from a qualitative point of view. It will soon be subjected to experimental data to estimate the model parameters.
Rhythms; plasticity; plant growth model; GREENLAB; interactions; branching system; fructification; emergent properties
Background and Aims
This study aimed to characterize the interaction between architecture and source–sink relationships in winter oilseed rape (WOSR): do the costs of ramification compromise the source–sink ratio during seed filling? The GreenLab model is a good candidate to address this question because it has been already used to describe interactions between source–sink relationships and architecture for other species. However, its adaptation to WOSR is a challenge because of the complexity of its developmental scheme, especially during the reproductive phase.
Equations were added in GreenLab to compute expansion delays for ramification, flowering of each axis and photosynthesis of pods including the energetic cost of oil synthesis. Experimental field data were used to estimate morphological parameters while source–sink parameters of the model were estimated by adjustment of model outputs to the data. Ecophysiological outputs were used to assess the sources/sink relationships during the whole growth cycle.
First results indicated that, at the plant scale, the model correctly simulates the dynamics of organ growth. However, at the organ scale, errors were observed that could be explained either by secondary growth that was not incorporated or by uncertainties in morphological parameters (durations of expansion and life). Ecophysiological outputs highlighted the dramatic negative impact of ramification on the source–sink ratio, as well as the decrease in this ratio during seed filling despite pod envelope photosynthesis that allowed significant biomass production to be maintained.
This work is a promising first step in the construction of a structure–function model for a plant as complex as WOSR. Once tested for other environments and/or genotypes, the model can be used for studies on WOSR architectural plasticity.
Biological system modelling; source–sink relationships; ramification; GreenLab model; energetic cost; oleaginous seeds; Brassica napus; winter oilseed rape
Background and Aims
In traditional crop growth models assimilate production and partitioning are described with empirical equations. In the GREENLAB functional–structural model, however, allocation of carbon to different kinds of organs depends on the number and relative sink strengths of growing organs present in the crop architecture. The aim of this study is to generate sink functions of wheat (Triticum aestivum) organs by calibrating the GREENLAB model using a dedicated data set, consisting of time series on the mass of individual organs (the ‘target data’).
An experiment was conducted on spring wheat (Triticum aestivum, ‘Minaret’), in a growth chamber from, 2004 to, 2005. Four harvests were made of six plants each to determine the size and mass of individual organs, including the root system, leaf blades, sheaths, internodes and ears of the main stem and different tillers. Leaf status (appearance, expansion, maturity and death) of these 24 plants was recorded. With the structures and mass of organs of four individual sample plants, the GREENLAB model was calibrated using a non-linear least-square-root fitting method, the aim of which was to minimize the difference in mass of the organs between measured data and model output, and to provide the parameter values of the model (the sink strengths of organs of each type, age and tiller order, and two empirical parameters linked to biomass production).
Key Results and Conclusions
The masses of all measured organs from one plant from each harvest were fitted simultaneously. With estimated parameters for sink and source functions, the model predicted the mass and size of individual organs at each position of the wheat structure in a mechanistic way. In addition, there was close agreement between experimentally observed and simulated values of leaf area index.
Wheat; Triticum aestivum ‘Minaret’; tiller; GREENLAB; organ mass; functional–structural model; model calibration; multi-fitting; source–sink
Background and Aims
Plant growth models able to simulate phenotypic plasticity are increasingly required because (1) they should enable better predictions of the observed variations in crop production, yield and quality, and (2) their parameters are expected to have a more robust genetic basis, with possible implications for selection of quantitative traits such as growth- and allocation-related processes. The structure–function plant model, GREENLAB, simulates resource-dependent plasticity of plant architecture. Evidence for its generality has been previously reported, but always for plants grown in a limited range of environments. This paper aims to test the model concept to its limits by using plant spacing as a means to generate a gradient of competition for light, and by using a new crop species, tomato, known to exhibit a strong photomorphogenetic response.
A greenhouse experiment was carried out with three homogeneous planting densities (plant spacing = 0·3, 0·6 and 1 m). Detailed records of plant development, plant architecture and organ growth were made throughout the growing period. Model calibration was performed for each situation using a statistical optimization procedure (multi-fitting).
Key Results and Conclusions
Obvious limitations of the present version of the model appeared to account fully for the plant plasticity induced by inter-plant competition for light. A lack of stability was identified for some model parameters at very high planting density. In particular, those parameters characterizing organ sink strengths and governing light interception proved to be environment-dependent. Remarkably, however, responses of the parameter values concerned were consistent with actual growth measurements and with previously reported results. Furthermore, modifications of total biomass production and of allocation patterns induced by the planting-density treatments were accurately simulated using the sets of optimized parameters. These results demonstrate that the overall model structure is potentially able to reproduce the observed plant plasticity and suggest that sound biologically based adaptations could overcome the present model limitations. Potential options for model improvement are proposed, and the possibility of using the kernel algorithm currently available as a fitting tool to build up more sophisticated model versions is advocated.
Functional–structural models; GREENLAB; phenotypic plasticity; planting density; competition; source–sink relationship; parameter stability; Solanum lycopersicum
Background and Aims
Plant population density (PPD) influences plant growth greatly. Functional–structural plant models such as GREENLAB can be used to simulate plant development and growth and PPD effects on plant functioning and architectural behaviour can be investigated. This study aims to evaluate the ability of GREENLAB to predict maize growth and development at different PPDs.
Two field experiments were conducted on irrigated fields in the North China Plain with a block design of four replications. Each experiment included three PPDs: 2·8, 5·6 and 11·1 plants m−2. Detailed observations were made on the dimensions and fresh biomass of above-ground plant organs for each phytomer throughout the seasons. Growth stage-specific target files (a description of plant organ weight and dimension according to plant topological structure) were established from the measured data required for GREENLAB parameterization. Parameter optimization was conducted using a generalized least square method for the entire growth cycles for all PPDs and years. Data from in situ plant digitization were used to establish geometrical symbol files for organs that were then applied to translate model output directly into 3-D representation for each time step of the model execution.
The analysis indicated that the parameter values of organ sink variation function, and the values of most of the relative sink strength parameters varied little among years and PPDs, but the biomass production parameter, computed plant projection surface and internode relative sink strength varied with PPD. Simulations of maize plant growth based on the fitted parameters were reasonably good as indicated by the linearity and slopes similar to unity for the comparison of simulated and observed values. Based on the parameter values fitted from different PPDs, shoot (including vegetative and reproductive parts of the plant) and cob fresh biomass for other PPDs were simulated. Three-dimensional representation of individual plant and plant stand from the model output with two contrasting PPDs were presented with which the PPD effect on plant growth can be easily recognized.
This study showed that GREENLAB model has the ability to capture plant plasticity induced by PPD. The relatively stable parameter values strengthened the hypothesis that one set of equations can govern dynamic organ growth. With further validation, this model can be used for agronomic applications such as yield optimization.
Functional–structural plant model; GREENLAB; plant architecture; source–sink relationship; plant population density; maize (Zea mays); model parameterization
Background and Aims
Despite its simple architecture and small phenotypic plasticity, oil palm has complex phenology and source–sink interactions. Phytomers appear in regular succession but their development takes years, involving long lag periods between environmental influences and their effects on sinks. Plant adjustments to resulting source–sink imbalances are poorly understood. This study investigated oil palm adjustments to imbalances caused by severe fruit pruning.
An experiment with two treatments (control and complete fruit pruning) during 22 months in 2006–2008) and six replications per treatment was conducted in Indonesia. Phenology, growth of above-ground vegetative and reproductive organs, leaf morphology, inflorescence sex differentiation, dynamics of non-structural carbohydrate reserves and light-saturated net photosynthesis (Amax) were monitored.
Artificial sink limitation by complete fruit pruning accelerated development rate, resulting in higher phytomer, leaf and inflorescence numbers. Leaf size and morphology remained unchanged. Complete fruit pruning also suppressed the abortion of male inflorescences, estimated to be triggered at about 16 months before bunch maturity. The number of female inflorescences increased after an estimated lag of 24–26 months, corresponding to time from sex differentiation to bunch maturity. The most important adjustment process was increased assimilate storage in the stem, attaining nearly 50 % of dry weight in the stem top, mainly as starch, whereas glucose, which in controls was the most abundant non-structural carbohydrate stored in oil palm, decreased.
The development rate of oil palm is in part controlled by source–sink relationships. Although increased rate of development and proportion of female inflorescences constituted observed adjustments to sink limitation, the low plasticity of plant architecture (constant leaf size, absence of branching) limited compensatory growth. Non-structural carbohydrate storage was thus the main adjustment process.
Carbon allocation; non-structural carbohydrates; source–sink relationships; Elaeis guineensis; phenotypic plasticity; photosynthesis
Localization and characterization of fruit set in winter tomato crops was investigated to determine the main internal and external controlling factors and to establish a quantitative relationship between fruit set and competition for assimilates. Individual fruit growth and development was assessed on a beef tomato cultivar during the reproductive period (first nine inflorescences). A non-destructive photograph technique was used to measure fruit growth from very early stages of their development and then calliper measurements were made on big fruits. From these measurements we determined the precise developmental stage at which fruit growth stopped. Fruit potential growth, which is defined as the growth achieved in non-limiting conditions for assimilate supply, was also assessed by this method on plants thinned to one flower per inflorescence. The latter was used to calculate the ratio between actual and potential growth, which was found to be a good index of the competition for assimilates.
Time lags of fruit set were observed mainly on distal organs. When more than three flowers were left on each inflorescence, distal organs developed at the same time as proximal organs of the following inflorescence. Consequently they were submitted to a double competition within one inflorescence and among inflorescences. It was shown that, what is commonly named ‘fruit set failure’, is not an irreversible death of the organ and that a small fruit could resume growth after a delay of several weeks as soon as the first fruits ripened and thus ceased to compete for assimilates. In that case proximal fruits resumed growth before distal ones. The delayed fruits contained only few seeds but a germination test confirmed that fertilization took place before fruit set failed.
Competition for assimilates was calculated during plant development by the ratio between actual and potential fruit growth. Potential growth of proximal fruits was strongly dependent on the position of the inflorescence on the stem, whereas potential growth of distal fruits was lower than or equal to that of proximal fruits of the same inflorescence and it was independent on the inflorescence position. We took into account both inflorescence and fruit positions to establish a quantitative relationship between fruit set of individual inflorescences and the ratio between actual and potential fruit growth.
Tomato; Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.; fruit set; competition for assimilates; potential growth; fruit sink strength
Background and Aims
Resource allocation to flowers, fruits and seeds can vary greatly within an inflorescence. For example, distal fruits are often smaller and produce fewer and smaller fruits and seeds than more basal fruits. To assess the causes and functional significance of intra-inflorescence variation, pollen and resources were manipulated to test whether such patterns could be altered within racemes of Stylidum armeria, a perennial Australian herb.
Pollen and resource levels were manipulated over two flowering seasons. How the number of ovules, fertilized ovules and seeds, the probability of fruit set, and the biomass of floral and fruiting structures varied with their position on the raceme were analysed.
Most plants showed a decline in ovule and seed number toward the distal positions on the raceme, but plants differed in their pattern of intra-inflorescence allocation: racemes with greater investment in basal fruits displayed a stronger trade-off with distal investment than did racemes that made smaller initial investments. This trade-off was (a) much stronger for ovule number than for seed number, (b) ameliorated but not erased by resource addition, and (c) exacerbated by resource reduction. There was large and seemingly erratic variation across fruit positions in ovule fertilization and seed set following both natural and supplemental pollination.
In S. armeria, allocation to reproductive traits within the inflorescence is influenced by dynamic trade-offs in resource allocation between early and late fruits, and may also be subject to inherent architectural effects. Large, unpredictable variation among fruits in fertilization success and seed set may influence the evolution of inflorescence size, ovule number and floral dimorphism.
Architectural effects; floral biomass; intra-inflorescence; pollen limitation; resource pre-emption; Stylidium armeria
Fruit development, from its early stages, is the result of a complex network of interacting processes, on different scales. These include cell division, cell expansion but also nutrient transport from the plant, and exchanges with the environment. In the presence of nutrient limitation, in particular, the plant reacts as a whole, by modifying its architecture, metabolism, and reproductive strategy, determining the resources available for fruit development, which in turn affects the overall source-sink balance of the system. Here, we present an integrated model of tomato that explicitly accounts for early developmental changes (from cell division to harvest), and use it to investigate the impact of water deficit and carbon limitation on nutrient fluxes and fruit growth, in both dry and fresh mass. Variability in fruit response is analyzed on two different scales: among trusses at plant level, and within cell populations at fruit level. Results show that the effect of stress on individual cells strongly depends on their age, size, and uptake capabilities, and that the timing of stress application, together with the fruit position on the plant, is crucial in determining the final phenotypic outcome. Water deficit and carbon depletion impacted either source size, source activity, or sink strength with contrasted effects on fruit growth. An important prediction of the model is the major role of symplasmic transport of carbon in the early stage of fruit development, as a catalyst for cell and fruit growth.
model; development; cell division; cell expansion; symplasm; plant architecture; tomato; stress
Seasonal and regional variations in kiwifruit storage quality imply a weather effect. This is perhaps mediated via fruit transpiration and fruit mineral nutrition. Concurrent measurements of fruit transpiration and weather are modelled to predict cumulative fruit transpiration throughout the season.
Background and aims
In most fruit crops, storage quality varies greatly between regions and seasons, causing significant commercial loss. Understanding the sources of this variability will contribute to the knowledge of fruit developmental physiology and may also benefit commercial fruit production via altered managements that reduce it or forecasts that predict it. A causal-chain relationship is proposed to help elucidate the sources of variability in fruit storage quality: the weather →(i)→ fruit transpiration →(ii)→ fruit calcium →(iii)→ fruit storage quality. This paper explores the first link of this hypothesis, →(i)→, for Hayward kiwifruit using field measurements of fruit transpiration rate and concurrent meteorological recordings. The aims are to identify the key environmental variables driving fruit transpiration and develop a predictive fruit transpiration model.
Fruit transpiration was determined hourly over several 24-h periods by recording weight loss of detached fruit, on Days 23, 35, 49, 65, 94 and 140 after full bloom. Meteorological records were made every 15 min throughout the season at an adjacent regional weather station. A model of fruit transpiration was developed in which the usual meteorological variables (radiation, temperature, windspeed and relative humidity) were incorporated in a Fick's Law transpiration flux equation.
Fruit transpiration rate (i.e. the molar flux density, mmol cm−2 h−1) varied diurnally and decreased during the season. The dominant fruit variable governing transpiration rate was skin conductance and the dominant environmental variables were relative humidity and temperature. Radiation and windspeed were not significantly influential.
The model provides a good fit to the fruit transpiration rate measurements regardless of the time of day/night or the stage of fruit development. The model allows reasonably accurate and continuous predictions of fruit transpiration rate throughout fruit development based on standard meteorological recordings. It also allows estimates of cumulative fruit transpiration throughout the season.
Background and Aims
Ovary swelling, and resultant fruit malformation, in bell pepper flowers is favoured by low night temperature or a high source–sink ratio. However, the interaction between night temperature and source–sink ratio on ovary swelling and the contribution of cell size and cell number to ovary swelling are unknown. The present research examined the interactive effects of night temperature and source–sink ratio on ovary size, cell number and cell size at anthesis in bell pepper flowers.
Bell pepper plants were grown in growth chambers at night temperatures of either 20 °C (HNT) or 12 °C (LNT). Within each temperature treatment, plants bore either 0 (non-fruiting) or two developing fruits per plant. Ovary fresh weight, cell size and cell number were measured.
Ovary fresh weights in non-fruiting plants grown at LNT were the largest, while fresh weights were smallest in plants grown at HNT with fruits. In general, mesocarp cell size in ovaries was largest in non-fruiting plants grown at either LNT or HNT and smallest in fruiting plants at HNT. Mesocarp cell number was greater in non-fruiting plants under LNT than in the rest of the night temperature/fruiting treatments. These responses were more marked in ovaries sampled after 18 d of treatment compared with those sampled after 40 d of treatment.
Ovary fresh weight of flowers at anthesis increased 65 % in non-fruiting plants grown under LNT compared with fruiting plants grown under HNT. This increase was due primarily to increases in mesocarp cell number and size. These results indicate that the combined effects of LNT and high source–sink ratio on ovary swelling are additive. Furthermore, the combined effects of LNT and low source–sink ratio or HNT and high source–sink ratio can partially overcome the detrimental effects of LNT and high source–sink ratio.
Capsicum annuum; fruit quality; pepper ovary swelling; source–sink effects
Background and Aims
It is increasingly accepted that crop models, if they are to simulate genotype-specific behaviour accurately, should simulate the morphogenetic process generating plant architecture. A functional–structural plant model, GREENLAB, was previously presented and validated for maize. The model is based on a recursive mathematical process, with parameters whose values cannot be measured directly and need to be optimized statistically. This study aims at evaluating the stability of GREENLAB parameters in response to three types of phenotype variability: (1) among individuals from a common population; (2) among populations subjected to different environments (seasons); and (3) among different development stages of the same plants.
Five field experiments were conducted in the course of 4 years on irrigated fields near Beijing, China. Detailed observations were conducted throughout the seasons on the dimensions and fresh biomass of all above-ground plant organs for each metamer. Growth stage-specific target files were assembled from the data for GREENLAB parameter optimization. Optimization was conducted for specific developmental stages or the entire growth cycle, for individual plants (replicates), and for different seasons. Parameter stability was evaluated by comparing their CV with that of phenotype observation for the different sources of variability. A reduced data set was developed for easier model parameterization using one season, and validated for the four other seasons.
Key Results and Conclusions
The analysis of parameter stability among plants sharing the same environment and among populations grown in different environments indicated that the model explains some of the inter-seasonal variability of phenotype (parameters varied less than the phenotype itself), but not inter-plant variability (parameter and phenotype variability were similar). Parameter variability among developmental stages was small, indicating that parameter values were largely development-stage independent. The authors suggest that the high level of parameter stability observed in GREENLAB can be used to conduct comparisons among genotypes and, ultimately, genetic analyses.
Plant architecture; functional–structural models; crop simulation; parameter stability; allometric relationships; sink capacity; Zea mays
Mongolian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) is one of the principal tree species in the network of Three-North Shelterbelt for windbreak and sand stabilisation in China. The functions of shelterbelts are highly correlated with the architecture and eco-physiological processes of individual tree. Thus, model-assisted analysis of canopy architecture and function dynamic in Mongolian Scots pine is of value for better understanding its role and behaviour within shelterbelt ecosystems in these arid and semiarid regions. We present here a single-tree functional and structural model, derived from the GreenLab model, which is adapted for young Mongolian Scots pines by incorporation of plant biomass production, allocation, allometric rules and soil water dynamics. The model is calibrated and validated based on experimental measurements taken on Mongolian Scots pines in 2007 and 2006 under local meteorological conditions. Measurements include plant biomass, topology and geometry, as well as soil attributes and standard meteorological data. After calibration, the model allows reconstruction of three-dimensional (3D) canopy architecture and biomass dynamics for trees from one- to six-year-old at the same site using meteorological data for the six years from 2001 to 2006. Sensitivity analysis indicates that rainfall variation has more influence on biomass increment than on architecture, and the internode and needle compartments and the aboveground biomass respond linearly to increases in precipitation. Sensitivity analysis also shows that the balance between internode and needle growth varies only slightly within the range of precipitations considered here. The model is expected to be used to investigate the growth of Mongolian Scots pines in other regions with different soils and climates.
Yield is the most important breeding trait of crops. For fruit-bearing plants such as Solanum lycopersicum (tomato), fruit formation directly affects yield. The final fruit size depends on the number and volume of cell layers in the pericarp of the fruit, which is determined by the degree of cell division and expansion in the fertilized ovaries. Thus, fruit yield in tomato is predominantly determined by the efficiency of fruit set and the final cell number and size of the fruits. Through domestication, tomato fruit yield has been markedly increased as a result of mutations associated with fruit size and genetic studies have identified the genes that influence the cell cycle, carpel number and fruit set. Additionally, several lines of evidence have demonstrated that plant hormones control fruit set and size through the delicate regulation of genes that trigger physiological responses associated with fruit expansion. In this review, we introduce the key genes involved in tomato breeding and describe how they affect the physiological processes that contribute to tomato yield.
fruit size; tomato; parthenocarpy; plant hormones; yield
Next-generation sequencing was exploited to gain deeper insight into the response to infection by Candidatus liberibacter asiaticus (CaLas), especially the immune disregulation and metabolic dysfunction caused by source-sink disruption. Previous fruit transcriptome data were compared with additional RNA-Seq data in three tissues: immature fruit, and young and mature leaves. Four categories of orchard trees were studied: symptomatic, asymptomatic, apparently healthy, and healthy. Principal component analysis found distinct expression patterns between immature and mature fruits and leaf samples for all four categories of trees. A predicted protein – protein interaction network identified HLB-regulated genes for sugar transporters playing key roles in the overall plant responses. Gene set and pathway enrichment analyses highlight the role of sucrose and starch metabolism in disease symptom development in all tissues. HLB-regulated genes (glucose-phosphate-transporter, invertase, starch-related genes) would likely determine the source-sink relationship disruption. In infected leaves, transcriptomic changes were observed for light reactions genes (downregulation), sucrose metabolism (upregulation), and starch biosynthesis (upregulation). In parallel, symptomatic fruits over-expressed genes involved in photosynthesis, sucrose and raffinose metabolism, and downregulated starch biosynthesis. We visualized gene networks between tissues inducing a source-sink shift. CaLas alters the hormone crosstalk, resulting in weak and ineffective tissue-specific plant immune responses necessary for bacterial clearance. Accordingly, expression of WRKYs (including WRKY70) was higher in fruits than in leaves. Systemic acquired responses were inadequately activated in young leaves, generally considered the sites where most new infections occur.
Background and Aims
The dynamical system of plant growth GREENLAB was originally developed for individual plants, without explicitly taking into account interplant competition for light. Inspired by the competition models developed in the context of forest science for mono-specific stands, we propose to adapt the method of crown projection onto the x–y plane to GREENLAB, in order to study the effects of density on resource acquisition and on architectural development.
The empirical production equation of GREENLAB is extrapolated to stands by computing the exposed photosynthetic foliage area of each plant. The computation is based on the combination of Poisson models of leaf distribution for all the neighbouring plants whose crown projection surfaces overlap. To study the effects of density on architectural development, we link the proposed competition model to the model of interaction between functional growth and structural development introduced by Mathieu (2006, PhD Thesis, Ecole Centrale de Paris, France).
Key Results and Conclusions
The model is applied to mono-specific field crops and forest stands. For high-density crops at full cover, the model is shown to be equivalent to the classical equation of field crop production (
Howell and Musick, 1985, in Les besoins en eau des cultures; Paris: INRA Editions). However, our method is more accurate at the early stages of growth (before cover) or in the case of intermediate densities. It may potentially account for local effects, such as uneven spacing, variation in the time of plant emergence or variation in seed biomass. The application of the model to trees illustrates the expression of plant plasticity in response to competition for light. Density strongly impacts on tree architectural development through interactions with the source–sink balances during growth. The effects of density on tree height and radial growth that are commonly observed in real stands appear as emerging properties of the model.
Functional–structural plant models; GREENLAB; competition for light; Beer–Lambert Law; plant plasticity; dynamical system
Maize is an economic crop that is also a candidate for use in phytoremediation in low-to-moderately Cd-contaminated soils, because the plant can accumulate high concentration of Cd in parts that are nonedible to humans while accumulating only a low concentration of Cd in the fruit. Maize cultivars CT38 and HZ were planted in field soils contaminated with Cd and nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) was used to enhance the phytoextractive effect of the maize. Different organs of the plant were analyzed to identify the Cd sinks in the maize. A distinction was made between leaf sheath tissue and leaf lamina tissue. Cd concentrations decreased in the tissues in the following order: sheath > root > lamina > stem > fruit. The addition of NTA increased the amount of Cd absorbed but left the relative distribution of the metal among the plant organs essentially unchanged. The Cd in the fruit of maize was below the Chinese government's permitted concentration in coarse cereals. Therefore, this study shows that it is possible to conduct maize phytoremediation of Cd-contaminated soil while, at the same time, harvesting a crop, for subsequent consumption.
Background and Aims
Models based on the consideration of plant development as the result of source–sink relationships between organs suffer from an inherent lack of quantification of the effect of trophic competition on organ growth processes. The ‘common assimilate pool theory’ underlying many such models is highly debatable.
Six experiments were carried out in a greenhouse and outdoors with two grapevine cultivars and with 12 management systems, resulting in different types of plant architecture. Ten variables were used to quantify the impact of variations in assimilate supply and topological distances between sources and sinks on organogenesis, morphogenesis and biomass growth.
A hierarchy of the responses of these processes to variations in assimilate supply was identified. Organ size seemed to be independent of assimilate supply, whereas both organogenesis and biomass growth were affected by variations in assimilate supply. Lower levels of organ biomass growth in response to the depletion of assimilate supplies seemed to be the principal mechanism underlying the plasticity of plant development in different environments. Defoliation or axis ablation resulted in changes in the relationship between growth processes and assimilate supply, highlighting the influence of non-trophic determinants. The findings cast doubt on the relevance of ‘the common assimilate pool theory’ for modelling the development of grapevine.
The results of this study suggest new formalisms for increasing the ability of models to take plant plasticity into account. The combination of an ecophysiological model for morphogenesis taking environmental signals into account and a biomass driven model for organogenesis and biomass allocation taking the topological distances between the sources and the sinks into account appears to be a promising approach. Moreover, in order to simulate the impact of agronomic practices, it will be necessary to take into account the non-trophic determinants of plant development such as hormonal signaletics.
Biomass growth; branching system; common assimilate pool; morphogenesis; organogenesis; source–sink; grapevine; Vitis vinifera
Iodine is a trace element that is fundamental for human health: its deficiency affects about two billion people worldwide. Fruits and vegetables are usually poor sources of iodine; however, plants can accumulate iodine if it is either present or exogenously administered to the soil. The biofortification of crops with iodine has therefore been proposed as a strategy for improving human nutrition. A greenhouse pot experiment was carried out to evaluate the possibility of biofortifying tomato fruits with iodine. Increasing concentrations of iodine supplied as KI or KIO3 were administered to plants as root treatments and the iodine accumulation in fruits was measured. The influences of the soil organic matter content or the nitrate level in the nutritive solution were analyzed. Finally, yield and qualitative properties of the biofortified tomatoes were considered, as well as the possible influence of fruit storage and processing on the iodine content. Results showed that the use of both the iodized salts induced a significant increase in the fruit’s iodine content in doses that did not affect plant growth and development. The final levels ranged from a few mg up to 10 mg iodine kg -
1 fruit fresh weight and are more than adequate for a biofortification program, since 150 μg iodine per day is the recommended dietary allowance for adults. In general, the iodine treatments scarcely affected fruit appearance and quality, even with the highest concentrations applied. In contrast, the use of KI in plants fertilized with low doses of nitrate induced moderate phytotoxicity symptoms. Organic matter-rich soils improved the plant’s health and production, with only mild reductions in iodine stored in the fruits. Finally, a short period of storage at room temperature or a 30-min boiling treatment did not reduce the iodine content in the fruits, if the peel was maintained. All these results suggest that tomato is a particularly suitable crop for iodine biofortification programs.
biofortification; iodine; iodine deficiency; potassium iodate; potassium iodide; Solanum lycopersicum L.; tomato
The DefH9-iaaM gene fusion which is expressed specifically in placenta/ovules and promotes auxin-synthesis confers parthenocarpic fruit development to eggplant, tomato and tobacco. Transgenic DefH9-iaaM eggplants and tomatoes show increased fruit production due mainly to an improved fruit set. However, the weight of the fruits is also frequently increased.
DefH9-iaaM strawberry and raspberry plants grown under standard cultivation conditions show a significant increase in fruit number and size and fruit yield. In all three Rosaceae species tested, Fragaria vesca, Fragaria x ananassa and Rubus idaeus, DefH9-iaaM plants have an increased number of flowers per inflorescence and an increased number of inflorescences per plant. This results in an increased number of fruits per plant. Moreover, the weight and size of transgenic fruits was also increased. The increase in fruit yield was approximately 180% in cultivated strawberry, 140% in wild strawberry, and 100% in raspberry. The DefH9-iaaM gene is expressed in the flower buds of all three species. The total IAA (auxin) content of young flower buds of strawberry and raspberry expressing the DefH9-iaaM gene is increased in comparison to untransformed flower buds. The DefH9-iaaM gene promotes parthenocarpy in emasculated flowers of both strawberry and raspberry.
The DefH9-iaaM gene is expressed and biologically active in Rosaceae. The DefH9-iaaM gene can be used, under cultivation conditions that allow pollination and fertilization, to increase fruit productivity significantly in Rosaceae species. The finding that the DefH9-iaaM auxin-synthesizing gene increases the number of inflorescences per plant and the number of flowers per inflorescence indicates that auxin plays a role in plant fecundity in these three perennial Rosaceae species.
DefH9-iaaM; Flower; Fruit; Inflorescence; Raspberry; Strawberry
Inland and transitional aquatic systems play an important role in global carbon (C) cycling. Yet, the C dynamics of wetlands and floodplains are poorly defined and field data is scarce. Air-water fluxes in the wetlands of Doñana Natural Area (SW Spain) were examined by measuring alkalinity, pH and other physiochemical parameters in a range of water bodies during 2010–2011. Areal fluxes were calculated and, using remote sensing, an estimate of the contribution of aquatic habitats to gaseous transport was derived. Semi-permanent ponds adjacent to the large Guadalquivir estuary acted as mild sinks, whilst temporal wetlands were strong sources of (−0.8 and 36.3 ). Fluxes in semi-permanent streams and ponds changed seasonally; acting as sources in spring-winter and mild sinks in autumn (16.7 and −1.2 ). Overall, Doñana's water bodies were a net annual source of (5.2 ). Up–scaling clarified the overwhelming contribution of seasonal flooding and allochthonous organic matter inputs in determining regional air-water gaseous transport (13.1 ). Nevertheless, this estimate is about 6 times < local marsh net primary production, suggesting the system acts as an annual net sink. Initial indications suggest longer hydroperiods may favour autochthonous C capture by phytoplankton. Direct anthropogenic impacts have reduced the hydroperiod in Doñana and this maybe exacerbated by climate change (less rainfall and more evaporation), suggesting potential for the modification of C sequestration.
Background and Aims
Photosynthetic plasticity in response to a range of environmental factors that include [CO2], water availability, light intensity and temperature, is ubiquitous among plants with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). The present study examined how seasonal changes in light availability, as experienced by greenhouse CAM crops in northern latitude regions, influence diel carboxylation patterns and impact on carbon gain and seasonal accumulation of biomass.
In the CAM bromeliad Aechmea ‘Maya’ integrated measurements of leaf gas exchange, diel metabolite dynamics (e.g. malate, soluble sugars and starch) and biomass accumulation were made four times a year, i.e. in winter, spring, summer and autumn.
During the brighter seasons (spring and summer) daytime Phases II and IV were dominated by C4 carboxylation, whilst the higher diurnal uptake in the autumn and winter was characterized by equal contributions of both Rubisco and PEPC. As a consequence, net CO2 uptake showed a significant depression at the end of the day in the darker months when supplementary illumination was turned off. Remarkable seasonal consistency was found in the amount of storage reserves available for nocturnal carboxylation, a consequence of predominantly daytime export of carbohydrate in spring and summer whilst nocturnal export was the major sink for carbohydrate in autumn and winter.
Throughout the different seasons Aechmea ‘Maya’ showed considerable plasticity in the timing and magnitude of C3 and C4 carboxylation processes over the diel cycle. Under low PPFD (i.e. winter and autumn) it appears that there was a constraint on the amount of carbohydrate exported during the day in order to maintain a consistent pool of transient carbohydrate reserves. This gave remarkable seasonal consistency in the amount of storage reserves available at night, thereby optimizing biomass gain throughout the year. The data have important practical consequences for horticultural productivity of CAM plants and suggest a scenario for reconciling carbohydrate partitioning between competing sinks of nocturnal acidification and export for growth.
Aechmea ‘Maya’; seasonal; CAM; bromeliad; carbon budgets; gas exchange; metabolite dynamics; PEPC; photoperiod extension; PPFD; photosynthetic plasticity; Rubisco