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The base of the leaf acts as a localized sink for photosynthate in mature barley leaves

  • NASIR UDDIN SHAIKH (a1), W. PAUL QUICK (a1) and STEPHEN A. ROLFE (a1)

Abstract

The gradients in photosynthetic and carbohydrate metabolism which persist within the fully expanded second leaf of barley (Hordeum vulgare) were examined. Although all regions of the leaf blade were green and photosynthetically active, the basal 5 cm, representing approximately 20% of the leaf area, retained some characteristics of sink tissue. The leaf blade distal from the leaf sheath exhibited characteristics typical of source tissue; the activities of sucrolytic enzymes (invertase and sucrose synthase) were relatively low, whilst that of sucrose phosphate synthase was high. These regions of the leaf accumulated sucrose throughout the photoperiod and starch only in the second half of the photoperiod whilst hexose sugars remained low. By contrast the leaf blade proximal to the leaf sheath retained relatively high activities of sucrolytic enzymes (especially soluble, acid invertase) whilst sucrose phosphate synthase activity was low. Glucose, as well as sucrose, accumulated throughout the photoperiod. Although starch accumulated in the second half of the photoperiod, a basal level of starch was present throughout the photoperiod, by contrast with the rest of the leaf. The 14CO2 feeding experiments indicated that a constant amount of photosynthate was partitioned towards starch in this region of the leaf irrespective of irradiance. These findings are interpreted as the base of the leaf blade acting as a localized sink for carbohydrate as a result of sucrose hydrolysis by acid invertase.

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Author for correspondence (tel +44 114 2220039; fax +44 114 2220002; e-mail s.rolfe@sheffield.ac.uk).

Keywords

The base of the leaf acts as a localized sink for photosynthate in mature barley leaves

  • NASIR UDDIN SHAIKH (a1), W. PAUL QUICK (a1) and STEPHEN A. ROLFE (a1)

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