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Short-term plasticity of crassulacean acid metabolism expression in the epiphytic bromeliad, Tillandsia usneoides

Lookup NU author(s): Richard Haslam, Emerita Professor Anne Borland, Professor Howard Griffiths


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The regulation and flexibility of the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway has been investigated in the 'extreme epiphyte' Tillandsia usneoides (L.). Submerging strands of T. usneoides under water, thereby inhibiting the supply of atmospheric CO2, allowed non-invasive in vivo manipulation of the supply of CO2 during the nocturnal Phase I of CAM. Once the plants were removed from submersion, T. usneoides maintained open stomata, and net CO2 uptake occurred throughout most of the photoperiod. Variability in the expression of CAM allowed T. usneoides to compensate for restricted CO2 availability through Phase I of CAM by adjusting gas exchange rates through the photoperiod and subsequent dark period to maintain a constant internal supply of CO2 in the light. Furthermore, T. usneoides demonstrated a gradual, rather than rapid, change in phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) activation across the day-night cycle, such that PEPC and Rubisco appear to work in tandem in order to maintain carbon balance for this extreme atmospheric bromeliad.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Haslam RP, Borland AM, Griffiths H

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Functional Plant Biology: 3rd International Congress on Crassulacean Acid Metabolism

Year of Conference: 2002

Pages: 749-756

ISSN: 1445-4408

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing


DOI: 10.1071/PP01214

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 14454416