Journal of experimental botany

Effect of carbohydrates and night temperature on night respiration in rice.

PMID 25954047


Global warming causes night temperature (NT) to increase faster than day temperature in the tropics. According to crop growth models, respiration incurs a loss of 40-60% of photosynthate. The thermal sensitivity of night respiration (R(n)) will thus reduce biomass. Instantaneous and acclimated effects of NT on R(n) of leaves and seedlings of two rice cultivars having a variable level of carbohydrates, induced by exposure to different light intensity on the previous day, were investigated. Experiments were conducted in a greenhouse and growth chambers, with R(n) measured on the youngest fully expanded leaves or whole seedlings. Dry weight-based R(n) was 2.6-fold greater for seedlings than for leaves. Leaf R(n) was linearly related to starch (positive intercept) and soluble sugar concentration (zero intercept). Increased NT caused higher R(n) at a given carbohydrate concentration. The change of R(n) at NT increasing from 21 °C to 31 °C was 2.4-fold for the instantaneous response but 1.2- to 1.7-fold after acclimation. The maintenance component of R(n) (R(m)'), estimated by assimilate starvation, averaged 28% in seedlings and 34% in leaves, with no significant thermal effect on this ratio. The acclimated effect of increased NT on R(m)' across experiments was 1.5-fold for a 10 °C increase in NT. No cultivar differences were observed in R(n) or R(m)' responses. The results suggest that the commonly used Q10=2 rule overestimates thermal response of respiration, and R(n) largely depends on assimilate resources.