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Effects of Sulfur on the Photosynthesis of Intact Leaves and Isolated Chloroplasts of Sugar Beets 1

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Abstract

Effects of sulfur on photosynthesis in sugar beets (Beta vulgaris L. cv. F58-554H1) were studied by inducing sulfur deficiency and determining changes in the photosynthesis of whole attached leaves and of isolated chloroplasts. The rates of photosynthetic CO2 uptake by intact leaves, photoreduction of ferricyanide, cyclic and noncyclic photophosphorylation of isolated chloroplasts, and the rate of CO2 assimilation by ribulose diphosphate carboxylase, decreased with decrease in total leaf sulfur from 2500 to about 500 μg g−1 dry weight. Sulfur deficiency reduced photosynthesis through an effect on chlorophyll content, which decreased linearly with leaf sulfur, and by decreasing the rate of photosynthesis per unit chlorophyll. There was only a small effect of sulfur deficiency on stomatal diffusion resistance to CO2 until leaf sulfur decreased below 1000 μg g−1 when stomatal resistance became a more significant proportion of the total diffusion resistance to CO2. Light respiration rates were positively correlated with photosynthesis rates and dark respiration was unchanged as leaf sulfur concentrations declined.

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