Leaf photoassimilation and partitioning in stress-tolerant sorghum Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous attempts to relate variation in physiological measurements of carbon and water exchange to preflowering and postflowering tolerance to water stress in Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench have yielded inconsistent results. The objective of this research was to compare physiological indicators of sorghum photoassimilation and partitioning among a preflowering-tolerant line (Tx430), a postflowering tolerant line (B35), and an F 1 hybrid thereof. Leaf CO 2 exchange and sucrose synthesis rates, carbohydrate concentrations, and 14 C-assimilate partitioning were quantified in field-grown plants that were exposed to 14 CO 2 for 3 h under steady-state labeling conditions. Leaf CO 2 exchange and sucrose synthesis rates were slower, and concentrations and radioactivity in blade starch were greater, in B35 than in Tx430 under well-watered conditions. In addition, the postflowering-tolerant cultivar B35 retained 70% more 14 C-assimilate in the labeled blade than did Tx430. The differences in leaf traits were associated with 33% smaller grain weights in B35 than Tx430 or the hybrid, but aerial biomass and upper stem carbohydrate concentrations at preboot and anthesis did not differ among the cultivars under well-watered conditions. The consistency of differences between B35 and Tx430 across sampling stages suggested that metabolic and unloading processes in leaf blades, rather than limitations to assimilate unloading in growing and storage tissues, contributed to slower rates of CO 2 exchange, sucrose synthesis, and 14 C-assimilate export in B35. Leaf traits and dry weights did not differ among cultivars when water stress was imposed on potted plants during preboot, anthesis, and grain filling. The lack of a relationship between leaf traits under well-watered conditions and post flowering tolerance to water stress indicates tolerant sorghum phenotypes could be selected to avoid the relatively low rates of CO 2 exchange, sucrose synthesis, and export observed for B35.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Sowder, C. M., Tarpley, L., Vietor, D. M., & Miller, F. R.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Sowder, CM||Tarpley, L||Vietor, DM||Miller, FR

publication date

  • May 1997