The relationship between leaf area growth and biomass accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Sarathi M. Weraduwage, Jin Chen, Fransisca C. Anozie, Alejandro Morales, Sean E. Weise, Thomas D. Sharkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

252 Scopus citations


Leaf area growth determines the light interception capacity of a crop and is often used as a surrogate for plant growth in high-throughput phenotyping systems. The relationship between leaf area growth and growth in terms of mass will depend on how carbon is partitioned among new leaf area, leaf mass, root mass, reproduction, and respiration. A model of leaf area growth in terms of photosynthetic rate and carbon partitioning to different plant organs was developed and tested with Arabidopsis thaliana L. Heynh. ecotype Columbia (Col-0) and a mutant line, gigantea-2 (gi-2), which develops very large rosettes. Data obtained from growth analysis and gas exchange measurements was used to train a genetic programming algorithm to parameterize and test the above model. The relationship between leaf area and plant biomass was found to be non-linear and variable depending on carbon partitioning. The model output was sensitive to the rate of photosynthesis but more sensitive to the amount of carbon partitioned to growing thicker leaves. The large rosette size of gi-2 relative to that of Col-0 resulted from relatively small differences in partitioning to new leaf area vs. leaf thickness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - Apr 9 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Weraduwage, Chen, Anozie, Morales, Weise and Sharkey.


  • Carbon partitioning
  • Growth
  • Leaf area
  • Leaf thickening
  • Photosynthesis
  • Specific leaf area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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