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Susan Lurie, Reuven Ronen, and Shimon Meier

Storing `Maor' green bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) for 3 weeks at 2C resulted in the development of chilling injury (CI) evidenced as surface pitting. Fruit held at 8C did not develop any CI symptoms, but, after 3 weeks of storage, the fruit began to change color from green to red. PAM fluorometry was used to measure changes in photosynthetic competency in whole green bell peppers. Three photosynthetic characteristics could be measured by this method: quantum yield (Fm/Fe), photochemical quenching (Qp), and nonphotochemical quenching (Qnp). Fm/Fo decreased 90% during the first week of storage at 2C and remained low thereafter, while Qnp decreased after 2 weeks at 2C, just before the peppers began to develop CL Qp was similar at both storage temperatures. Potassium leakage as a CI measurement also increased in excised pepper discs after 2 weeks at 2C. The results indicate that PAM fluorometry can measure CI nondestructively before tissue damage is visible in green peppers.

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Sebastiano Delfine, Francesco Loreto, and Arturo Alvino

Physiological characteristics, growth, and biomass production of rainfed and irrigated bell pepper [Capsicum annuum L. var. anuum (Grossum Group) `Quadrato d'Asti'] plants were measured in the semiarid conditions of a Mediterranean summer to determine if drought stress effects are transient and do not affect plant growth and crop yield or are persistent and adversely affect plant growth and crop yield. A low midday leaf water potential indicated the occurrence of transient drought stress episodes in rainfed plants during the first 2 months of the study. Later on, predawn water potential also increased, indicating a persistent drought stress condition despite the occurrence of some rainfall. Photosynthesis was reduced when stress conditions developed, but the reduction was transient and limited to the central part of the day during the first 2 months. As plants aged, however, the impact of drought stress on photosynthesis was not relieved during the overnight recovery period. Stomatal conductance was reduced both during transient and permanent stress conditions while CO2 transfer conductance (i.e., conductance to CO2 inside the leaf) was only reduced when photosynthesis inhibition was unrecoverable. However, chloroplast CO2 concentration was higher in rainfed than in irrigated leaves indicating that CO2 availability was not limiting photosynthesis. Nonphotochemical quenching of fluorescence increased significantly in rainfed leaves exposed to permanent stress indicating the likely impairment of ATP synthesis. Transient inhibition of photosynthesis did not significantly affect leaf area index and biomass production, but growth was significantly reduced when photosynthesis was permanently inhibited. Fruit dry weight was even higher in rainfed plants compared to irrigated plants until drought stress and photosynthesis reduction became permanent. It is suggested that bell pepper growth without supplemental irrigation over the first part of the vegetative cycle does not impair plant growth and may even be useful to improve yield of early fruit.

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Li-Song Chen and Lailiang Cheng

To determine the cause of a characteristic zonal chlorosis of `Honeycrisp' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) leaves, we compared CO2 assimilation, carbohydrate metabolism, the xanthophyll cycle and the antioxidant system between chlorotic leaves and normal leaves. Chlorotic leaves accumulated higher levels of nonstructural carbohydrates, particularly starch, sorbitol, sucrose, and fructose at both dusk and predawn, and no difference was found in total nonstructural carbohydrates between predawn and dusk. This indicates that carbon export was inhibited in chlorotic leaves. CO2 assimilation and the key enzymes in the Calvin cycle, ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, NADP-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, phosphoribulokinase, stromal fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, and the key enzymes in starch and sorbitol synthesis, ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, cytosolic fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, and aldose 6-phosphate reductase were significantly lower in chlorotic leaves than in normal leaves. However, sucrose phosphate synthase activity was higher in chlorotic leaves. In response to a reduced demand for photosynthetic electron transport, thermal dissipation of excitation energy (measured as nonphotochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence) was enhanced in chlorotic leaves under full sun, lowering the efficiency of excitation energy transfer to PSII reaction centers. This was accompanied by a corresponding increase in both xanthophyll cycle pool size (on a chlorophyll basis) and conversion of violaxanthin to antheraxanthin and zeaxanthin. The antioxidant system, including superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase and the ascorbate pool and glutathione pool, was up-regulated in chlorotic leaves in response to the increased generation of reactive oxygen species via photoreduction of oxygen. These findings support the hypothesis that phloem loading and/or transport is partially or completely blocked in chlorotic leaves, and that excessive accumulation of nonstructural carbohydrates may cause feedback suppression of CO2 assimilation via direct interference with chloroplast function and/or indirect repression of photosynthetic enzymes.

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Jens N. Wünsche, John W. Palmer, and Dennis H. Greer

Effect of crop load on tree growth, leaf characteristics, photosynthesis, and fruit quality of 5-year-old `Braeburn' apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] trees on Malling 26 (M.26) rootstock was examined during the 1994-95 growing season. Crop loads ranged from 0 to 57 kg/tree [0 to 1.6 kg fruit/cm2 trunk cross sectional area (TCA) or 0 to 8.7 fruit/cm2 TCA]. Fruit maturity as indicated by background color, starch/iodine score, and soluble solids was advanced significantly on low-cropping trees compared to high-cropping trees. Whole-canopy leaf area and percentage tree light interception increased linearly with a significant trend as crop load decreased. From midseason until fruit harvest, leaf photosynthesis decreased significantly on lighter cropping trees and similarly, a positive linear trend was found between whole-canopy gas exchange per unit area of leaf and crop load. Leaf starch concentration in midseason increased linearly as crop load decreased, providing some explanation for the increased down-regulation of photosynthesis on trees with lower crop loads. After fruit harvest, the previous crop loads had no effect on leaf photosynthesis and preharvest differences in whole-canopy gas exchange per unit area of leaf were less pronounced. At each measurement date, daily whole-canopy net carbon exchange and transpiration closely followed the diurnal pattern of incident photosynthetic photon flux. The photochemical yield and electron transport capacity depended on crop load. This was due mostly to reaction center closure before harvest and an increased nonphotochemical quenching after harvest.

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Jun Zhu, Duane P. Bartholomew, and Guillermo Goldstein

Despite the potential impact of rising global CO2 levels, only a limited number of studies have been conducted on the effects of ambient and elevated CO2 on plants having Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). To our knowledge, there are no studies for pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.], the most commercially important CAM plant. Pineapple plants were grown at CO2 levels of ≈330 (ambient) and ≈730 (elevated) μmol·mol-1 in open-top chambers for 4 months. The mean air temperature in the chambers was ≈39 °C day/24 °C night. Average plant dry mass at harvest was 180 g per plant at elevated CO2 and 146 g per plant at ambient CO2. More biomass was partitioned to stem and root but less to leaf for plants grown at elevated CO2; leaf thickness was 11% greater at elevated than at ambient CO2. The diurnal difference in leaf titratable acidity (H+) at elevated CO2 reached 347 mmol·m-2, which was up to 42% greater than levels in plants grown in ambient CO2. Carbon isotopic discrimination (Δ) of plants was 3.75% at ambient CO2 and 3.17% at elevated CO2, indicating that CO2 uptake via the CAM pathway was enhanced more by elevated CO2 than uptake via the C3 pathway. The nonphotochemical quenching coefficient (qN) of leaves was ≈45% lower in the early morning for plants grown at elevated than at ambient CO2, while afternoon values were comparable. The qN data suggested that the fixation of external CO2 was enhanced by elevated CO2 in the morning but not in the afternoon when leaf temperature was ≥40 °C. We found no effect of CO2 levels on leaf N or chlorophyll content. Pineapple dry matter gain was enhanced by elevated CO2, mainly due to increased CO2 dark fixation in environments with day temperatures high enough to suppress C3 photosynthesis.

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Jason J. Griffin, Thomas G. Ranney, and D. Mason Pharr

Tolerance to high solar irradiation is an important aspect of stress tolerance for landscape plants, particularly for species native to understory conditions. The objective of this study was to evaluate differential tolerance to high solar irradiation and underlying photosynthetic characteristics of diverse taxa of Illicium L. grown under full sun or 50% shade. Eleven commercially available taxa of Illicium were evaluated for light tolerance by measuring light-saturated photosynthetic capacity (Amax), dark-adapted quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), and relative chlorophyll content using a SPAD chlorophyll meter. Comparisons of Amax indicated that three of the 11 taxa (I. anisatum L., I. parviflorum Michx. ex Vent., and I. parviflorum `Forest Green') maintained similar rates of light-saturated carbon assimilation when grown in either shade or full sun. All other taxa experienced a significant reduction in Amax when grown in full sun. Chlorophyll fluorescence analysis demonstrated that Fv/Fm was similar between sun and shade plants for the same three taxa that were able to maintain Amax. These taxa appeared to experience less photoinhibition than the others and maintained greater maximum photochemical efficiency of absorbed light. SPAD readings were not significantly reduced in these three taxa either, whereas most other taxa experienced a significant reduction. In fact, SPAD readings were significantly higher in I. parviflorum `Forest Green' when grown under full sun, which also maintained the highest Amax of all the taxa. These results suggest that there is considerable variation in light tolerance among these taxa, with I. parviflorum `Forest Green' demonstrating superior tolerance to high light among the plants compared. A more rigorous examination of I. parviflorum `Forest Green' (high light tolerance) and I. floridanum Ellis (low-light tolerance) demonstrated that I. parviflorum `Forest Green' had a considerably higher Amax, a higher light saturation point, greater potential photosynthetic capacity, reduced susceptibility to photoinhibition as indicated by superior PSII efficiency following light exposure, greater capacity for thermal de-excitation as indicated by a higher rate of nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) under full sun, greater apparent electron transport rate (ETR) at mid-day, and higher concentrations of the free-radical scavenger myo-inositol. All of these factors contribute potentially to a greater capacity to use light energy for carbon fixation while minimizing photodamage.

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Brandon R. Smith and Lailiang Cheng

The objective of this study was to quantify how photoprotective mechanisms in the leaves of `Concord' grapevines (Vitis labruscana Bailey) respond to a range of iron (Fe) supply. Own-rooted, 1-year-old container-grown vines were fertigated twice weekly for 11 weeks with a complete nutrient solution containing 1, 10, 20, 50, or 100 μm Fe from ferric ethylenediamine di (o-hydroxyphenylacetic) acid (Fe-EDDHA). Leaf total Fe content did not increase in response to Fe supply; however, “active” Fe (extracted with 2,2′-dipyridyl) and chlorophyll (Chl) increased on a leaf area basis as applied Fe increased. At the lowest active Fe level, leaf absorptance and the efficiency of excitation transfer (Fv′/Fm′) was lower, and nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) was significantly greater. Photosystem II (PSII) quantum efficiency decreased curvilinearly, and the proportion of PSII reaction centers in the open state (qP) decreased linearly as active Fe content decreased. On a Chl basis, the xanthophyll cycle pool size [violaxanthin (V) + antheraxanthin (A) + zeaxanthin (Z)], lutein, and β-carotene increased curvilinearly as active Fe decreased, and neoxanthin (Neo) increased at the lowest Fe level. On a leaf area basis, as active Fe decreased, V+A+Z and β-carotene decreased curvilinearly, and lutein and Neo decreased linearly. At noon, conversion of V to A and Z increased as active Fe decreased. On a Chl basis, activities of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDAR), and dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR) increased curvilinearly, and glutathione reductase (GR) activity increased linearly as active Fe levels declined. Ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and catalase (CAT), on a Chl basis, were relatively constant. On a leaf area basis, a decrease in active Fe increased SOD and MDAR activity, whereas APX, CAT, DHAR and GR activity decreased. Antioxidant metabolites ascorbate (AsA), dehydroascorbate (DAsA), reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) also increased in response to Fe limitation when expressed on a Chl basis, whereas on a leaf area basis AsA and DAsA decreased and GSH increased curvilinearly. The GSH:GSSG ratio increased as active Fe declined, whereas the AsA:DAsA ratio did not change. In conclusion, both photoprotective mechanisms, xanthophyll cycle-dependent thermal dissipation and the ascorbate-glutathione antioxidant system, are enhanced in response to Fe deficiency to cope with excess absorbed light. In a low soil pH tolerant species such as V. labruscana, the foliar antioxidant system was upregulated in response to excess absorbed light from Fe deficiency-induced chlorosis, and there was no evidence of an increase in oxidative stress from high rates of applied Fe-EDDHA.

Open access

Joshua K. Craver, Krishna S. Nemali, and Roberto G. Lopez

-term exposure to high radiation intensities can result in increased nonphotochemical quenching of “absorbed” radiation ( Müller et al., 2001 ). Absorbed radiation must be used in photosynthesis or converted to thermal energy through the process of

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Jia Li, Liyun Liu, Huanqi Zhou, and Meng Li

-control software (PAMWin 3.0). The photochemical quenching (qP) = (F m – F s )/(F m ′ – F o ′), nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) = (F m – F m ′)/F m ′, maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII (F v /F m , F v = F m – F o ), and actual photochemical efficiency

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Jing Zhou, PingPing Li, JiZhang Wang, and Weiguo Fu

, 2012b ) demonstrated that at temperatures of 20 °C/16 °C (day/night), lettuce plants under 400 and 600 μmol·m −2 ·s −1 exhibited high photochemical quenching (qP), ETR, and yield, as well as moderate nonphotochemical quenching parameter (NPQ) values