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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 37 No. 4, p. 1228-1236
    Received: June 6, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): stewart@em.agr.ca
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Modeling Carbohydrate Production, Storage, and Export in Leafy and Normal Maize (Zea mays L.)

  1. D. W. Stewart ,
  2. L. M. Dwyer,
  3. C. J. Andrews and
  4. J. -A. Dugas
  1. Glenn Seeds Ltd., Blenheim, Ontario, Canada N0P 1A0.



The structure of maize (Zea mays L.) canopies influences light interception, photosynthesis, and yield. A recently developed corn phenotype termed Leafy, which has additional leaves above the ear compared with normal phenotypes of the same maturity, is thought to provide a greater source of photosynthates. The objective of this study was to develop a mathematical model to compare hybrid light interception, photosynthesis, carbohydrate storage, and export of carbohydrates from the leaves, based on measured leaf area distribution, leaf photosynthesis, and diurnal changes in leaf sugars and starches. Model simulations were run for two Leafy hybrids and a normal check hybrid, all grown at 6.5 and 3.25 plants m−2. A series of differential equations described how photosynthate was stored as leaf sugar and starch and then exported to stems. Rate coefficients were used to characterize diurnal changes in leaf carbohydrate concentration during early grain filling for different hybrids and planting densities. Model fits to leaf sugar and starch data were good (0.64 ≤ r ≤ 0.89). Model calculations showed that storage of carbohydrates in leaves was relatively small compared with the total amount of leaf photosynthate produced; more than 90% of the photosynthate was exported directly to the stem. Hybrid and planting density comparisons indicated that rate coefficients for the export of photosynthate from leaves increased with total plant dry matter. Leafy hybrids and hybrids grown at the lower plant density had greater plant dry weights, photosynthetic rates, and leaf export rates than the check or hybrids grown at the higher plant density.

CLBRR Contribution no. 96-17.

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