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DOI: 10.1093/plphys/kiad324

Impact of pod and seed photosynthesis on seed filling and canopy carbon gain in soybean

Young B Cho, Samantha Stuttz, Sarah I Jones, Yu Wang, Elena A Pelech, & Don Ort


Abstract: There is a limited understanding of the carbon assimilation capacity of non-foliar green tissues and its impact on yield and seed quality since most photosynthesis research focuses on leaf photosynthesis. In this study, we investigate the photosynthetic efficiency of soybean (Glycine max) pods and seeds in a field setting and evaluate its effect on mature seed weight and composition. We demonstrate that soybean pod and seed photosynthesis contributes 13-14% of the mature seed weight. Carbon assimilation by soybean pod and seed photosynthesis can compensate for 81% of carbon loss through the respiration of the same tissues, and our model predicts that soybean pod and seed photosynthesis contributes up to 9% of the total daily carbon gain of the canopy. Chlorophyll fluorescence shows that the operating efficiency of Photosystem II in immature soybean seeds peaks at the 10-100 mg seed weight stage, while that of immature pods peaks at the 75-100 mg stage. This study provides quantitative information about the efficiency of soybean pod and seed photosynthesis during tissue development and its impact on yield.

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