U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version

May 1978


Published in CROP SCIENCE, VOL. 18, MAY-JUNE 1978.


The purpose of this study was to determine if genotype by irradiance interactions or genetic variation in diurnal trends of CO, exchange rate (CER) influenced the CER-yield relationship in tall fescue (Festuca mundinucea Schreb.). Genotypes were selected in the field for high CER-high yield, high CER-low yield, low CER-high yield, and low CER-low yield. Responses of CER to photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of these genotypes were determined using both growth chamber- and field-grown material. The shapes of the PPFD response curves were similar for all genotypes, and saturation occurred at approximately 1,200 μE m-2 sec-1 (400 to 700 nm) under both growth conditions. In a growth chamber at 25/20 C (light/dark), all genotypes achieved near maximal CER and photorespiration within 1 hour of the beginning of the photoperiod and maintained these rates throughout the rest of the photoperiod, with high CER genotypes exhibiting about 30% higher rates than low CER genotypes. Photorespiration rates were significantly correlated (r = 0.80) with CER. Leaf diffusive resistance were similar for all genotypes throughout the photoperiod.

Genotypic differences did not occur in PPFD-response curves or diurnal patterns of CER. This suggests that differences in these two factors among genotypes are not the underlying cause of the poor relationship reported between short term measurements of leaf photosynthesis on recently collared leaves and forage yield. Other factors must be limiting genetic expression for CER in terms of yield.