Mesophyll freezing and effects of freeze dehydration visualized by simultaneous measurement of IDTA and differential imaging chlorophyll fluorescence


J. Hacker. Fax: +43 512 507 2715; e-mail:


Infrared differential thermal analysis (IDTA) and differential imaging chlorophyll fluorescence (DIF) were employed simultaneously to study the two-dimensional pattern of ice propagation in leaves and mesophyll freeze dehydration as detected by a significant increase of basic chlorophyll fluorescence (F0). IDTA and DIF technique gave different insights into the freezing process of leaves that was highly species-specific. IDTA clearly visualized the freezing process consisting of an initial fast spread of ice throughout the vascular system followed by mesophyll freezing. While mesophyll freezing was homogeneously in Poa alpina, Rhododendron ferrugineum and Senecio incanus as determined by IDTA, DIF showed a distinct pattern only in S. incanus, with the leaf tips being affected earlier. In Cinnamomum camphora, a mottled freezing pattern of small mesophyll compartments was observed by both methods. In IDTA images, a random pattern predominated, while in DIF images, compartments closer to lower order veins were affected earlier. The increase of F0 following mesophyll freezing started after a species-specific time lag of up to 26 min. The start of the F0 increase and its slope were significantly enhanced at lower temperatures, which suggest a higher strain on mesophyll protoplasts when freezing occurs at lower temperatures.