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Revealing the causes of photosynthetic inefficiency in sugarcane under low nitrogen availability

Grant number: 17/12302-2
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Crop Science
Principal researcher:Rafael Vasconcelos Ribeiro
Grantee:Rafael Vasconcelos Ribeiro
Host: Paul Christiaan Struik
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Wageningen University, Netherlands  


In a previous study, we noticed a significant reduction in leaf nitrogen concentration in the phase that precedes the maturation of sugarcane in field conditions. Although we know that there is a strong relationship between nitrogen and photosynthesis in higher plants, the processes underlying the assimilation of CO2 affected by nitrogen are poorly understood in C4 plants, such as sugarcane. Low photosynthesis associated with low leaf nitrogen content could be a consequence of the inefficiency of the CO2 concentration mechanism in the bundle-sheath cells, where the carboxylation by the enzyme Rubisco occurs. In C4 metabolism, not only the enzymes PEPC and Rubisco have a key role in assimilation of CO2, but also the resistances that determine the CO2 concentration at the carboxylation sites. The importance of stomatal conductance for photosynthesis has been extensively studied, while mesophyll conductance is a current research topic on C4 photosynthesis. However, the role of bundle-sheath conductance has been underestimated to such an extent that we do not know the importance of this variable in photosynthesis regulation of C4 plants such as sugarcane. Considering the current literature, this proposal has as hypothesis that low leaf nitrogen content reduces sugarcane photosynthesis due to decreases in activities of both carboxylation enzymes PEPC and Rubisco, without affecting the mechanism of CO2 concentration in bundle-sheath cells. The proposal also aims to reveal the relative importance of stomatal, mesophyll and bundle-sheath conductances for regulation of sugarcane photosynthesis under varying nitrogen availability. The major photosynthetic variables linked to C4 metabolism in mesophyll cells and C3 metabolism in bundle-sheath cells will be estimated in vivo using a biochemical model of C4 photosynthesis based on combined measurements of leaf gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence. These evaluations will be carried out in sugarcane plants grown under five nitrogen doses, with leaf nitrogen content and accumulation of biomass being also evaluated. With this study, we will reveal the importance of nitrogen to the mechanism of CO2 concentration and sugarcane photosynthesis, contributing for the understanding of the physiological bases of reduced light conversion efficiency in field-grown sugarcane plants. In addition to the scientific advance in relation to the regulation of sugarcane photosynthesis, the proposal will allow the development of competence and the creation of a research group on modeling of photosynthesis in higher plants, still absent in our country.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
TOFANELLO, VANESSA R.; ANDRADE, LARISSA M.; FLORES-BORGES, DENISELE N. A.; KIYOTA, EDUARDO; MAYER, JULIANA L. S.; CRESTE, SILVANA; MACHADO, EDUARDO C.; YIN, XINYOU; STRUIK, PAUL C.; RIBEIRO, RAFAEL V. Role of bundle sheath conductance in sustaining photosynthesis competence in sugarcane plants under nitrogen deficiency. PHOTOSYNTHESIS RESEARCH, JUN 2021. Web of Science Citations: 0.
RIBEIRO, RAFAEL V.; TORRES, RICARDO DA SILVA. Sentinel plants as programmable procession units: insights from a multidisciplinary perspective about stress memory and plant signaling and their relevance at community level. PLANT SIGNALING & BEHAVIOR, v. 13, n. 10 2018. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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