A relationship between photosynthesis and translocation in plants stressed by ionizing radiation
McCabe, James B.
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Since previous investigations have shown that low levels of ionizing radiation can induce a reduction in the rates of apparent photosynthesis and in the magnitude of photoassimilated l4C exported out of a leaf, the present studies were designed and conducted to determine the relationship, if any, between the radiation effects on these two physiological processes. The experiments were particularly designed to determine if the radiation-induced reduction in export is the result of the reduction in photosynthesis and hence availability of materials for translocation or the result of a reduction in the amount of energy available for the vein loading process. This study has shown that the radiation-induced reduction in l4C export out of a leaf is likely related to a loss of energy available for the vein loading process rather than a reduction in the supply of materials available for export due to reduced C02 uptake. The process of photophosphorylation was shown to be reduced by exposure to radiation to an extent similar to the reduction in the export of l4C which was also observed. Both of these processes returned to their pre-irradiation rates 120 minutes following radiatruon exposure. The rate of photosynthetic C02 uptake was also reduced by radiation exposur~ howeve~ this process did not return to the control level nor was the extent of reduction as large as observed for photophosphorylation and photoassimilate export. The observed relationship between the reductions of export and photoph~sphorylation pointed to the utilization of photosynthetically produced ATP in the vein loading process. The radiation-induced reduction in the export of l4C was observed at the highest light intensity used in this study which would also imply the involvement of the photophosphorylation process as an energy seurce for vein loading. The lack of radiation-induced reduction in export at low light intensities was interpreted as being due to the utilization of respiratory derived ATP, a process known to be insensitive to radiation at the levels used in this study, as the energy source for the vein loading process. Studies using plants not stressed by radiation showed that there was an increase in export of 14C with higher light intensities. In summary, the data has been interpreted as showing that at high light intensities the ATP, produced by photophosphorylation, is available for use in the vein loading process. The site of ATP utilization could not be determined from the data obtained in this study but possible sites have been indicated from the work done by other physiologists and are discussed in the thesis.