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Atmospheric phenanthrene pollution modulates carbon allocation in red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)

Desalme, Dorine, Binet, Philippe, Epron, Daniel, Bernard, Nadine, Gilbert, Daniel, Toussaint, Marie-Laure, Plain, Caroline, Chiapusio, Geneviève
Environmental pollution 2011 v.159 no.10 pp. 2759-2765
root shoot ratio, stems, phenanthrenes, photosynthates, symbionts, net assimilation rate, exudation, Trifolium pratense, carbon, pollution, photosynthesis, biomass, chlorophyll, roots, leaves
The influence of atmospheric phenanthrene (PHE) exposure (160μgm⁻³) during one month on carbon allocation in clover was investigated by integrative (plant growth analysis) and instantaneous ¹³CO₂ pulse-labelling approaches. PHE exposure diminished plant growth parameters (relative growth rate and net assimilation rate) and disturbed photosynthesis (carbon assimilation rate and chlorophyll content), leading to a 25% decrease in clover biomass. The root-shoot ratio was significantly enhanced (from 0.32 to 0.44). Photosynthates were identically allocated to leaves while less allocated to stems and roots. PHE exposure had a significant overall effect on the ¹³C partitioning among clover organs as more carbon was retained in leaves at the expense of roots and stems. The findings indicate that PHE decreases root exudation or transfer to symbionts and in leaves, retains carbon in a non-structural form diverting photosynthates away from growth and respiration (emergence of an additional C loss process).