Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2011, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (1): 91-99.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00091

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of soil water and nitrogen supply on the photosynthetic characteristics of Jatropha curcas seedlings

JIAO Juan-Yu1,2, YIN Chun-Ying2,*(), CHEN Ke1   

  1. 1College of Life Science and Engineering, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang, Sichuan 621010, China
    2Ecological Restoration Key Laboratory, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
  • Received:2010-06-17 Accepted:2010-08-02 Online:2011-06-17 Published:2011-01-24
  • Contact: YIN Chun-Ying


Aims Jatropha curcas is a drought-resistant perennial that can be used for bio-energy to replace petro-diesel. However, J. curcas is still a wild plant and basic agronomical properties are not thoroughly understood. When it is grown in commercial plantations with regular irrigation, we do not know how J. curcas will respond to changes in the environment. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of different soil water and nitrogen supplies on the photosynthesis characteristics of J. curcas seedlings.
Methods We exposed seedlings of J. curcas to three watering regimes (80%, 50% and 30% of field water holding capacity (FC)) and two nitrogen (N) regimes (with or without N-fertilization) and determined how N-fertilization affects the photosynthetic light and CO2 response curve, maximal quantum yield of PSII, and N and pigments contents under different soil water conditions.
Important findings With N-fertilization, we detected significant increases in apparent quantum yield (AQY), light compensation point (LCP), maximum net photosynthetic rate (Pmax), carboxylation efficiency (CE), photorespiration rate (Rp), dark respiration rate (Rd) and nitrogen content with the increase of soil water content. Highest values of photosynthesis parameters occurred with 80% FC with N-fertilization. Without N-fertilization, all photosynthesis parameters had the opposite trends with the increase of soil water content. Furthermore, with 30% FC the nitrogen content of seedlings with N-fertilization was significantly higher than without N-fertilization. AQY, PSII maximum photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) and chlorophyll and carotenoids contents was nearly the same with and without N-fertilization, but other parameters were significantly lower without N-fertilization. Thus, under N-poor soil condition J. curcas grew better under the relatively low soil water conditions and photosynthesis of J. curcas was impacted by high soil water content. While with N-fertilization, J. curcas performed better under high soil water content.

Key words: nitrogen content, nitrogen fertilization, photosynthetic-CO2 response curve, photosynthetic-light response curve, photosynthesis pigments, PSII maximum photochemical efficiency, soil water