Use of chlorophyll fluorescence to evaluate the cold acclimation and freezing tolerance of winter and spring oats

Authors

  • F. Rizza,

    1. Experimental Institute for Cereal Research, Section of Fiorenzuola d'Arda, Via S. Protaso 302, I-29017 Fiorenzuola d'Arda (PC), Italy
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    • 2

      Research Institute for Vegetable Crops, Section of Montanaso Lombardo, Via Paullese 28, I-26836 Montanaso Lombardo (LO), Italy. E-mail: fulvia.rizza@libero.it

  • D. Pagani,

    1. Experimental Institute for Cereal Research, Section of Fiorenzuola d'Arda, Via S. Protaso 302, I-29017 Fiorenzuola d'Arda (PC), Italy
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  • A. M. Stanca,

    1. Experimental Institute for Cereal Research, Section of Fiorenzuola d'Arda, Via S. Protaso 302, I-29017 Fiorenzuola d'Arda (PC), Italy
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  • L. Cattivelli

    1. Experimental Institute for Cereal Research, Section of Fiorenzuola d'Arda, Via S. Protaso 302, I-29017 Fiorenzuola d'Arda (PC), Italy
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  • With 3 tables and 3 figures

  • Communicated by G. Fischbeck

Abstract

The efficiency of the excitation capture by open Photosystem II (PSII) reaction centres was measured by the Fv/Fm ratios in a collection of winter and spring oats in order to assess the effects of hardening and freezing on the functionality of PSII and also the suitability of a chlorophyll fluorescence-based method to screen oat cultivars for frost tolerance. A significant reversible decrease in Fv/Fm was found in all genotypes during acclimation to low, non-freezing temperatures. Fv/Fm analysis appears to be an attractive test for the evaluation of frost tolerance in oats, being rapid, non-invasive and capable of monitoring a trait related to a crucial stage in the acquisition of frost tolerance. It is more sensitive and precise than other standard methods and highly correlated with field-evaluated frost damage. The measurements made during recovery 1 or 2 days after stress when the visual symptoms are not yet expressed, were especially advantageous because of the large variability in genotype response. The r-values (close to 0.8) were reduced due to the non-standard behaviour of the winter cultivar ‘Aintree’. The cold acclimation response of this genotype has been analysed in detail and the limits of artificial freezing tests are discussed.

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