Relationship between Photosynthesis and Seed Number at Phloem Isolated Nodes in Soybean
- W. P. Bruening *a and
- D. B. Eglia
Seed number is the primary yield component in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill], but the mechanisms responsible for the regulation of this component are not fully understood. Three soybean cultivars (Elgin 87, Emerald, and Essex) with genetic differences in seed growth rate and seed size were grown in the field in 1995 and 1996 to determine the relationship between photosynthesis, sink characteristics, and seed number at individual nodes. The sixth node from the bottom of the main stem was isolated by heat girdling the stem below the node to disrupt phloem continuity and by removing the part of the plant above the girdled node when flowers first opened at this node. Photosynthesis was varied by defoliating (removing approximately 0, 33, 66, 83, or 100% of the leaf area) the leaf at the girdled node. Carbon dioxide exchange rate (CER) was measured at approximately weekly intervals for up to 40 d after girdling. Girdling temporarily reduced CER in four of six comparisons and defoliation tended to increase CER. Defoliation produced large differences in nodal carbon input (NCI) per node and seed number increased rapidly as average NCI per node increased from 0 to approximately 0.10 μmol CO2 node−1 s−2 However, there was no further increase in seed number as average NCI continued to increase to 0.5 μmol CO2 node−1 s−2, suggesting that isolated nodes respond differently than soybean communities. Maximum seed number per node was inversely related to cultivar differences in individual seed growth rate and seed size. The girdled node technique should prove useful to investigate seed number-photosynthesis relationships in soybean.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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