Golden genotype of papaya (Carica papaya), named for its yellowish leaves, produces fruits very much appreciated by consumers worldwide. However, its growth and yield are considerably lower than those of other genotypes, such as ‘Sunrise Solo’, which has intensely green leaves. We undertook an investigation with the goal of evaluating key physiological traits that can affect biomass accumulation of both Golden and Sunrise Solo genotypes. Papaya seeds from two different genotypes with contrasting leaf colour ‘Sunrise Solo’ and Golden were grown in greenhouse conditions. Plant growth (plant height, leaf number, stem diameter, leaf area, plant dry weight), leaf gas exchanges, leaf carbon balance, RuBisCO oxygenation and carboxylation rates, nitrogen, as well as chlorophyll concentrations and fluorescence variables were assessed. Although no significant differences were observed for photosynthetic rates between genotypes, the accumulation of small differences in photosynthesis, day after day, over a long period, might contribute to some extend to a higher C-budget in Sunrise Solo, higher leaf area and, thus, to higher productivity. Additionally, we consider that physiological processes other than photosynthesis and leaf respiration can be as well involved in lower growth and yield of Golden. One of these aspects could be related to the higher rates of photorespiration observed in Sunrise Solo, which could improve the rate of N assimilation into organic compounds, such as amino acids, thus contributing to the higher biomass production in Sunrise Solo relative to Golden. Further experiments to evaluate the effects of N metabolism on physiology and growth of Golden are required as it has the potential to limit its yield.
- Chlorophyll fluorescence
- Leaf respiration rates
- Net photosynthesis
- Nitrogen concentration
- RuBisCO oxygenation/carboxylation rates