Effects of ozone on the photosynthetic apparatus and leaf proteins during leaf development in wheat


Neil R. Baker, Department of Biology, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK.


Leaves of Triticum aestivum cv. Avalon were grown in an atmosphere that contained 150 nmole mol-1 ozone for 7h each day. After leaves had reached maximum size, the leaf blade was divided into three sections to provide tissue of different age, the youngest at the base of the blade and the oldest at the leaf tip. The ozone treatment was found to decrease significantly the light-saturated rate and quantum yield of CO2 assimilation and the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry in the oldest leaf section. No effects were found on the basal and middle sections of the leaf. These ozone-induced decreases in the photosynthetic parameters were associated with decreases in the efficiency of utilization of light for CO2 assimilation at the photon flux density under which the leaves were grown. The depression in photosynthetic performance of tissue near the leaf tip was accompanied by large decreases in the contents of total, soluble and thylakoid proteins and chlorophyll. There was also found to be a preferential loss of ribulose-1,5-carboxylase-oxygenase. These ozone-induced changes in chlorophyll and protein contents and the photosynthetic activities of the leaf tissue were similar to changes normally associated with leaf senescence. Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel analyses of leaf proteins demonstrated the loss of some minor, and unidentified, proteins, whilst another group of minor proteins appeared. It is concluded that daily exposure of the leaf to 150 nmol mol-1 ozone for 7h had no effect on the development of the photosynthetic apparatus and its activities during leaf expansion, but it did promote the onset of premature senescence in fully expanded tissue that resulted in a loss of pigments, proteins and photosynthetic capacity and efficiency.