A mathematical approach estimating source and sink functioning of competing organs


  • M.Z. Kang
  • P. De Reffye


Plant growth and development depend on both organogenesis and photosynthesis. Organogenesis sets in place various organs (leaves, internodes, fruits, roots) that have their own sinks. The sum of these sinks corresponds to the plant demand. Photosynthesis of the leaves provides the biomass supply (source) that is to be shared among the organs according to their sink strength. Here we present a mathematical model – GreenLab – that describes dynamically plant architecture in a resource-dependent way. The source and sink functions of the various organs control the biomass acquisition and partitioning during plant development and growth, giving the sizes and weights of organs according to their position in the plant architecture. Non-linear least-square method was used to estimate the numerical values of (hidden) parameters that control the organ sink variation and leaf functioning. Through simultaneous fitting of data from several developmental stages (multi-fitting), plant growth could be described satisfactorily with just a few parameters. Examples of application on cotton and maize are shown in this article.