High night temperature stimulates photosynthesis, biomass production and growth during the vegetative stage of rice plants
The effects of night temperature on biomass accumulation and plant morphology were examined in rice (Oryza sativa L.) during vegetative growth. Plants were grown under three different night temperatures (17, 22 and 27°C) for 63 days. The day temperature was maintained at 27°C in all treatments. The final biomass of the plants was greatest in the plants grown at the highest night temperature. Total leaf area and tiller number were also the greatest in this treatment. Growth analysis indicated that the relative growth rate in the 27°C night-temperature treatment was maximal between days 21–42 and this was caused by increases in leaf area ratio, leaf weight ratio and specific leaf area. Plant total nitrogen contents did not differ among treatments. However, nitrogen allocation to the leaf blades was highest and the accumulation of sucrose and starch in the leaf blades and sheaths was the lowest in the 27°C night-temperature treatment by day 42. Despite this, dark respiration was also highest, and both the gross and net rates of CO2 uptake at the level of the whole plant at day 63 were the highest in the 27°C night-temperature treatment. Thus, high night temperature strongly stimulated the growth of leaf blades during the early stage of rice plant growth, leading to increased biomass during the vegetative stage of the rice plants. As the CO2 uptake rate per total leaf area was higher, photosynthesis at the level of the whole plant was also stimulated by a high night temperature.