Impact of light on leaf initiation: a matter of photosynthate availability in the apical bud?

A. Savvides, N. Ntagkas, W. van Ieperen, J.A. Dieleman, L.F.M. Marcelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Radiation substantially affects leaf initiation rate (LIR), a key variable for plant growth, by influencing the heat budget and therefore the temperature of the shoot apical meristem. The photosynthetically active component of solar radiation (photosynthetic photon flux density; PPFD) is critical for plant growth and when at shade to moderate levels may also influence LIR via limited photosynthate availability. Cucumber and tomato plants were subjected to different PPFDs (2.5–13.2 mol m–2 day–1) and then LIR, carbohydrate content and diel net CO2 uptake of the apical bud were quantified. LIR showed saturating response to increasing PPFD in both species. In this PPFD range, LIR was reduced by 20% in cucumber and by 40% in tomato plants. Carbohydrate content and dark respiration were substantially reduced at low PPFD. LIR may be considered as an adaptive trait of plants to low light levels, which is likely to be determined by the local photosynthate availability. In tomato and cucumber plants, LIR can be markedly reduced at low PPFD in plant production systems at high latitudes, suggesting that models solely based on thermal time may not precisely predict LIR at low PPFD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-556
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • thermal-time
  • shade-avoidance
  • air-temperature
  • young tomato
  • blue-light
  • shoot apex
  • growth
  • expansion
  • responses


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