Cotton leaf gas exchange responses to irradiance and leaf aging
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Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) net photosynthetic rate (P-N) decreased with leaf age and low irradiance, and the interaction of these factors might lead to decreased yields mainly in crops with a high plant density. Shade decreased leaf gas exchange, mainly in young leaves, which did not recover after exposure to an increasing irradiance. Old leaves reached P-N saturation at a lower irradiance than young leaves. Also stomatal conductance decreased with leaf age and shading. Intercellular CO2 concentration and irradiance were inversely related. The responses of P-N to irradiance decreased as leaf aged, and it did not interact with shade suggesting that self-shading is not primarily responsible for the decreased photosynthetic rate in older cotton leaves.