2017 Volume 86 Issue 2 Pages 229-237
Chronic kidney disease has become a major public health problem worldwide. The aim of this study was to investigate the differences in plant growth and photosynthesis among three lettuce (Lactuca sativa) types with different morphological characteristics under low potassium conditions, providing information for improving the method of low-potassium lettuce culture. Lettuce was hydroponically grown in half-strength Enshi formula nutrient solution containing 4, 2, or 1 me·L−1 K+. The plant yield and relative growth rates (RGR) of all three lettuce types were lowest under a treatment with 1 me·L−1 K+. In green leaf lettuce, reductions in both the net assimilate rate (NAR) and leaf area ratio (LAR) led to a decline in RGR. In Boston lettuce and romaine lettuce, the reduction of RGR was mainly due to a reduction in LAR, and to a lesser extent caused by NAR. Reduced potassium in the nutrient solution had a greater effect on mature leaves than on newly expanded leaves for all three lettuce types. In green leaf lettuce and Boston lettuce, photosynthetic rates of mature leaves significantly decreased under reduced potassium treatments, with a steady or gradually increased intercellular CO2 concentration; this indicated that non-stomatal factors suppressed photosynthesis. In romaine lettuce, the photosynthetic rate was less influenced by reduced potassium levels in the nutrient solution, and the significant increase observed in leaf mass per area might contribute to maintaining photosynthesis in the leaf. The decrease in photosynthesis in mature leaves exhibited a similar trend to the decreased potassium content in the leaves within the three lettuce types, but the factor related to the reduction of photosynthesis was different.