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Using plant growth modeling to analyse C source-sink relations under drought: inter and intra specific comparison

Pallas B., Clément-Vidal A., Rebolledo M.C., Soulie J.C., Luquet D.. 2013. Frontiers in Plant Science, 4 (437) : 13 p..

DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00437

The ability to assimilate C and allocate non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs) to the most appropriate organs is crucial to maximize plant ecological or agronomic performance. Such C source and sink activities are differentially affected by environmental constraints. Under drought, plant growth is generally more sink than source limited as organ expansion or appearance rate is earlier and stronger affected than C assimilation. This favors plant survival and recovery but not always agronomic performance as NSC are stored rather than used for growth due to a modified metabolism in source and sink leaves. Such interactions between plant C and water balance are complex and plant modeling can help analyzing their impact on plant phenotype. This paper addresses the impact of trade-offs between C sink and source activities and plant production under drought, combining experimental and modeling approaches. Two contrasted monocotyledonous species (rice, oil palm) were studied. Experimentally, the sink limitation of plant growth under moderate drought was confirmed as well as the modifications in NSC metabolism in source and sink organs. Under severe stress, when C source became limiting, plant NSC concentration decreased. Two plant models dedicated to oil palm and rice morphogenesis were used to perform a sensitivity analysis and further explore how to optimize C sink and source drought sensitivity to maximize plant growth. Modeling results highlighted that optimal drought sensitivity depends both on drought type and species and that modeling is a great opportunity to analyze such complex processes. Further modeling needs and more generally the challenge of using models to support complex trait breeding are discussed.

Mots-clés : graine; sécheresse; croissance; contrôle de croissance; stockage; glucide; biomasse; modèle mathématique; gène; elaeis guineensis; oryza sativa

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