Has photosynthetic capacity increased with 80years of soybean breeding? An examination of historical soybean cultivars

Robert P. Koester, Brittany M. Nohl, Brian W Diers, Elizabeth Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Crop biomass production is a function of the efficiencies with which sunlight can be intercepted by the canopy and then converted into biomass. Conversion efficiency has been identified as a target for improvement to enhance crop biomass and yield. Greater conversion efficiency in modern soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] cultivars was documented in recent field trials, and this study explored the physiological basis for this observation. In replicated field trials conducted over three successive years, diurnal leaf gas exchange and photosynthetic CO 2 response curves were measured in 24 soybean cultivars with year of release dates (YOR) from 1923 to 2007. Maximum photosynthetic capacity, mesophyll conductance and nighttime respiration have not changed consistently with cultivar release date. However, daily carbon gain was periodically greater in more recently released cultivars compared with older cultivars. Our analysis suggests that this difference in daily carbon gain primarily occurred when stomatal conductance and soil water content were high. There was also evidence for greater chlorophyll content and greater sink capacity late in the growing season in more recently released soybean varieties. Better understanding of the mechanisms that have improved conversion efficiency in the past may help identify new, promising targets for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1067
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Volume39
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • Conversion efficiency
  • Glycine max
  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration
  • Stomatal conductance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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