A high-resolution portrait of the annual dynamics of photochemical and non-photochemical quenching in needles of Pinus sylvestris

Authors

  • Albert Porcar-Castell

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 27, 00014 Helsinki, Finland, e-mail: joan.porcar@helsinki.fi
      [Correction to article title, added after online publication 21 June 2011: “portray” is changed to “portrait”.]
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Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 27, 00014 Helsinki, Finland, e-mail: joan.porcar@helsinki.fi

Abstract

Partitioning of excitation energy between photochemical quenching (PQ) and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) processes is constantly adjusted in the leaf in order to preserve the photosynthetic energy balance. Adjustments in PQ and NPQ often result from a combination of different temporal components that can be simplified into reversible and sustained components. While reversible PQ and NPQ are relatively well understood, the controls behind the sustained components of PQ and NPQ, or the interaction between sustained and reversible NPQ, remain elusive. In this study, I used a full year of high-resolution chlorophyll fluorescence (ChlF) data obtained with a Monitoring-PAM fluorometer (Walz, Effeltrich, Germany) in needles of boreal Pinus sylvestris in situ to quantitatively analyse the dynamics and interaction between temporal components of NPQ and PQ and their control by the environment. To enable the estimation of sustained and reversible components of PQ and NPQ, a number of key ChlF parameters were reviewed and adapted to the analysis of long-term monitoring data. Overall, NPQ was drastically enhanced during winter via the accumulation of sustained NPQ in a process regulated by air temperature. Reversible NPQ retained some functionality even at temperatures well below zero and was not inhibited by the presence of sustained NPQ per se but by low temperatures alone. This suggests that temporal NPQ components co-operate in an additive rather than complementary fashion, conferring additional flexibility to the photoprotective role of NPQ. Finally, the potential of the sustained photochemical quenching parameter (qLs) to track photoinhibition in situ was discussed.

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