Understanding the basis for intraspecific yield variability may be important in elucidating biological mechanisms that are associated with superior yield performance in response to projected increases in carbon dioxide concentration, [CO₂]. Using a free-air CO₂ enrichment (FACE) facility, two rice lines, S63 and W14, which differed consistently in their enhancement of seed yield when grown at elevated [CO₂] in multiple field trials, were examined. To determine if the different cultivar responses were linked to changes in photosynthetic characteristics at elevated [CO₂], spatial and temporal changes in photosynthetic stimulation and the occurrence of down-regulation, or acclimation, in relation to panicle sink development were quantified for the uppermost canopy leaves. Changes in photosynthetic capacity were determined by quantifying changes in the sink:source ratio, leaf nitrogen (N) content, the concentration and mRNA expression of the large Rubisco subunit, and changes in V c,max, the maximum ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP)-saturated rate of carboxylation. For the W14 cultivar, significant reductions in photosynthesis at the elevated, relative to ambient [CO₂], signalling photosynthetic acclimation, were observed following panicle initiation. The observance of photosynthetic acclimation was consistent with significant reductions in N, Rubisco content and expression, and V c,max. In contrast, for the cultivar S63, elevated [CO₂] resulted in increased spikelet number and grain weight, increased sink:source ratios, and continued stimulation of photosynthesis up to grain maturity. Overall, these data suggest that the greater response of the S63 line to elevated [CO₂] may be associated with enhanced carbon sinks relative to sources, and the ability to maintain photosynthetic capacity during grain development.
Keywords: Elevated CO2; panicle; photosynthetic capacity; rice; sink; source..
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.