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Leaf Maximum Photosynthetic Rate and Venation Are Linked by Hydraulics


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Brodribb, TJ, Feild, TS and Jordan, GJ 2007 , 'Leaf Maximum Photosynthetic Rate and Venation Are Linked by Hydraulics' , Plant Physiology, vol. 144 , pp. 1890-1898 , doi: 10.1104/pp.107.101352.

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Leaf veins are almost ubiquitous across the range of terrestrial plant diversity, yet their influence on leaf photosynthetic
performance remains uncertain. We show here that specific physical attributes of the vascular plumbing network are key
limiters of the hydraulic and photosynthetic proficiency of any leaf. Following the logic that leaf veins evolved to bypass inefficient water transport through living mesophyll tissue, we examined the hydraulic pathway beyond the distal ends of the vein system as a possible limiter of water transport in leaves. We tested a mechanistic hypothesis that the length of this final traverse, as water moves from veins across the mesophyll to where it evaporates from the leaf, governs the hydraulic efficiency and photosynthetic carbon assimilation of any leaf. Sampling 43 species across the breadth of plant diversity from mosses to flowering plants, we found that the post-vein traverse as determined by characters such as vein density, leaf thickness, and cell
shape, was strongly correlated with the hydraulic conductivity and maximum photosynthetic rate of foliage. The shape of this correlation provided clear support for the a priori hypothesis that vein positioning limits photosynthesis via its influence on
leaf hydraulic efficiency.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Brodribb, TJ and Feild, TS and Jordan, GJ
Keywords: vein density, xylem, tracheids, water relations
Journal or Publication Title: Plant Physiology
DOI / ID Number: 10.1104/pp.107.101352
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