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C4 acid decarboyxlation type in Eragrostis (Poaceae): patterns of variation in chloroplast position, ultrastructure and geographical distribution



C4 acid decarboyxlation type in Eragrostis (Poaceae): patterns of variation in chloroplast position, ultrastructure and geographical distribution



Plant, Cell and Environment 9(4): 333-344



The activity of C4 acid decarboxylating enzymes, the photosynthetic carbon reduction (PCR) bundle sheath anatomy and ultrastructure, and the geographical distribution of Australian spp. of the C4 grass genus Eragrostis were investigated. Spp. had either the even sheath outline and centripetally located PCR cell chloroplasts characteristic of NAD-malic enzyme (NAD-ME) (29 spp.), the uneven sheath outline and centrifugal PCR cell chloroplasts characteristic of PEP carboxykinase (PCK) (28 spp.) or were intermediate between these types (7 spp.). The suberized lamella was present in PCR cell walls of spp. with PCK and intermediate anatomy, and absent from those of spp. with NAD-ME anatomy. Biochemical determination of C4 type for 11 spp. revealed only NAD-ME activity, irrespective of anatomical type; no PCK activity was detected. PCK anatomy spp. are most numerous in northern, high rainfall, tropical Australia and also predominate in relatively humid coastal and subcoastal areas. NAD-ME anatomy spp. are numerically and proportionally dominant where rainfall is <30 cm/year. Overall, as many spp. occur in high as in low rainfall areas. Results are discussed in relation to previously established anatomical/ultrastructural/geographical/biochemical correlations and to infrageneric taxonomy.

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