Effects of light conditions on growth and defense compound contents of Datura inoxia and D. stramonium.


Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Shinshu University, Asahi 3-1-1, Matsumoto, 390-8621, Japan. [Email]


We examined the effects of light conditions on plant growth and production of defense compounds in the toxic species Datura inoxia and D. stramonium. Specifically, we investigated morphological and physiological traits, including the contents of nitrogen-based tropane alkaloids (atropine and scopolamine) as defense compounds, under three light conditions: 100%, 80%, and 50% of full sunlight. Both species showed similar morphological and physiological responses to exposure to different intensities of light. Although the total plant mass decreased under lower light conditions, the total leaf area per plant increased. The reason being that the leaf mass per plant did not decrease, while the leaf mass per unit area decreased. Leaf nitrogen and chlorophyll concentrations and the chlorophyll/nitrogen ratio increased under lower light conditions, whereas the chlorophyll a/b ratio decreased. These morphological and physiological changes may be seen as ways to increase light acquisition under low light conditions. Leaf atropine and scopolamine concentrations did not differ among the three light conditions for both species. In conclusion, both Datura species underwent morphological and physiological changes under low light conditions, enabling them to use carbon and nitrogen to increase light acquisition while maintaining their chemical defense capability.


Carbon allocation,Chlorophyll,Leaf nitrogen,Plasticity,Tropane alkaloid,

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