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High-Resolution Three-Dimensional Structural Data Quantify the Impact of Photoinhibition on Long-Term Carbon Gain in Wheat Canopies in the Field

Burgess, Alexandra J.; Retkute, Renata; Pound, Michael P.; Foulkes, John; Preston, Simon P.; Jensen, Oliver E.; Pridmore, Tony P.; Murchie, Erik H.


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Assistant Professor in Agriculture and The Environment

Renata Retkute

Professor of Statistics and Applied Mathematics

Oliver E. Jensen

Professor of Computer Science

Professor of Applied Plant Physiology


Photoinhibition reduces photosynthetic productivity; however, it is difficult to quantify accurately in complex canopies partly because of a lack of high-resolution structural data on plant canopy architecture, which determines complex fluctuations of light in space and time. Here, we evaluate the effects of photoinhibition on long-term carbon gain (over 1 d) in three different wheat (Triticum aestivum) lines, which are architecturally diverse. We use a unique method for accurate digital three-dimensional reconstruction of canopies growing in the field. The reconstruction method captures unique architectural differences between lines, such as leaf angle, curvature, and leaf density, thus providing a sensitive method of evaluating the productivity of actual canopy structures that previously were difficult or impossible to obtain. We show that complex data on light distribution can be automatically obtained without conventional manual measurements. We use a mathematical model of photosynthesis parameterized by field data consisting of chlorophyll fluorescence, light response curves of carbon dioxide assimilation, and manual confirmation of canopy architecture and light attenuation. Model simulations show that photoinhibition alone can result in substantial reduction in carbon gain, but this is highly dependent on exact canopy architecture and the diurnal dynamics of photoinhibition. The use of such highly realistic canopy reconstructions also allows us to conclude that even a moderate change in leaf angle in upper layers of the wheat canopy led to a large increase in the number of leaves in a severely light-limited state.


Burgess, A. J., Retkute, R., Pound, M. P., Foulkes, J., Preston, S. P., Jensen, O. E., …Murchie, E. H. (2015). High-Resolution Three-Dimensional Structural Data Quantify the Impact of Photoinhibition on Long-Term Carbon Gain in Wheat Canopies in the Field. Plant Physiology, 169(2), 1192-1204.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 17, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2015
Publication Date 2015-10
Deposit Date Feb 1, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2016
Journal Plant Physiology
Print ISSN 0032-0889
Electronic ISSN 1532-2548
Publisher American Society of Plant Biologists
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 169
Issue 2
Pages 1192-1204
Public URL
Publisher URL


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