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Photosynthesis Characteristics of a Sand-fixing Pioneer Legume in Hunshandake Sandland

  • NIU Shuli;JIANG Gaoming
  • State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

Received date: 2011-07-31

  Revised date: 2011-08-11

  Online published: 2011-09-08


Hedysarum fruticosum var. lignosum is a superior species in the sand dunes of Hunshandake Sandland. Exploring the photosynthetic characteristics of this species will be helpful to reveal the adaptive mechanisms of the pioneer species in the sandy environment. The photosynthetic characteristics of H. fruticosum var. lignosum are monitored and compared with those of Salix gordejevii, a typical C3 species co-existing with H. fruticosum in semi-fixed or fixed sand dunes. The maximal photosynthetic rate (Pmax) and water use efficiency of H. fruticosum are approximately one times higher than that of S. gordejevii. H. fruticosum could endure high light and temperature at noon and has a high light saturation point and a low light compensation point. Except Ribulose-1.5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBPcase), the activities of photosynthetic carbon assimilation enzymes, such as phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPcase), NAD-malic enzymes (NAD-ME), NADP-malic enzymes (NADP-ME), NAD-malate dehydrogenase (NAD-MDH), NADP- malate dehydrogenase (NADP-MDH), and pyruvate phosphate dikinase (PPDK), in H. fruticosum are at least four times greater than that in S. gordejevii, it is suggested that H. fruticosum might have a C4 photosynthetic syndrome. However, the stable carbon isotope analysis reveals that H. fruticosum has the δ13C value of -23×10-3, which is closed to that of C3 plants. Therefore, it is likely that H. fruticosum is either a C3-C4 intermediate species, or a C3 species displaying C4 metabolic characteristics in the habitat of sand dune. The involvement of C4 metabolism in H. fruticosum might account for its greater efficiencies for photosynthesis and water use, and allows H. fruticosum to colonize the shifting sand dune with high temperature, light intensity, and water stress.

Cite this article

NIU Shuli;JIANG Gaoming . Photosynthesis Characteristics of a Sand-fixing Pioneer Legume in Hunshandake Sandland[J]. Science & Technology Review, 2011 , 29(25) : 38 -44 . DOI: 10.3981/j.issn.1000-7857.2011.25.005