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Altered Leaf Structure and Function in Triazine-Resistant Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) 1

  • Jodie Sims Holt
  • Deborah P. Goffner
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1985
  • Biology


Anatomical and physiological characteristics of leaves of triazinesusceptible and -resistant biotypes of common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris L.) were studied in order to explain the differences in light-saturated photosynthetic rates previously reported. Leaves were of uniform leaf plastochron index from greenhouse-grown plants. Susceptible plants had greater leaf fresh and dry weights and leaf areas, while resistant plants had greater specific leaf mass (mg fresh weight/cm2). Susceptible plants had greater amounts of total chlorophyll per unit leaf weight and a higher chlorophyll a/b ratio. Soluble protein in leaves was higher in susceptible chloroplasts on a weight and area basis, but similar to resistant chloroplasts on a unit chlorophyll basis. Activity of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase was higher in resistant plants on a fresh weight, leaf area, and milligram chlorophyll basis. Stomatal frequency, length, and arrangement were similar between biotypes, as were transpiration and conductance. Resistant leaves had less air space (v/v), more cells in palisade and spongy mesophyll, and a greater volume of palisade tissue than spongy, when compared to susceptible leaves. Differences in leaf structure and function between biotypes are probably due to a complex of developmental adaptations which may be only indirectly related to modified photosystem II in resistant plants. These results indicate that the consistently lower rates of net photosynthesis and yield in resistant plants cannot be explained solely on the basis of these leaf characteristics. Several possible mechanisms to account for reduced productivity are suggested.

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