Enhancement of light harvesting in annual crops has successfully led to yield increase and has been achieved by selecting plants with optimal canopy architecture for specific agronomic practices. In this simulation study, Perez et al. investigate potential improvements in light interception and carbon assimilation in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) under conventional agronomic conditions.
A sensitivity analysis is performed on three-dimensional virtual plants to assess the impact of architectural traits on light interception efficiency and potential carbon acquisition. Results highlight the significant contribution of erect leaves, short leaves and high density of leaflets on leaves to efficient light capture. Four architectural ideotypes are proposed based on their capacity to limit mutual shading and optimize light distribution within plant crown. This study opens the way to further investigate ideotypes carrying optimal trade-off between carbon assimilation, plant transpiration and biomass partitioning.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Functional-Structural Plant Growth Modelling. It will be free access until June 2018, then available only to subscribers until April 2019 when it will be free access again.