Nitrogen-limited growth of lettuce is associated with lower stomatal conductance

  • Broadley M
  • Escobar-Gutiérrez A
  • Burns A
 et al. 
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Abstract

C assimilation (A) has been shown to limit the growth of young Lactuca sativa (lettuce) plants following an interruption in their external N supply. Further data from these plants were used to test two hypotheses: that N-limited growth of lettuce is associated with lower stomatal conductance (gs); and that reductions in gs result from adjustments to stomatal frequency or distribution. The photosynthetic characteristics, nitrate and organic N-concentrations, as well as epidermal and stomatal distributions, were determined in leaves of hydroponically grown lettuce plants supplied continuously with N or with N removed for up to 14 d. Although N-limited plants had lower maximum rates of A, comparisons at equivalent values of gs showed that A was not directly limited by organic-N but by gs. Reductions in gs under N-limiting conditions did not associate with adjustments to stomatal frequency or distribution. Associations between plant N and A could arise either through stomata responding directly to signals induced by N deprivation or to increased CO2 partial pressure at the sites of carboxylation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Lactuca sativa (lettuce)
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrogen deficiency
  • Photosynthesis
  • Relative growth rate (RGR)
  • Stomatal conductance
  • Stomatal index

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