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Leaf anatomical and photosynthetic acclimation to cool temperature and high light in two winter versus two summer annuals

Authors

  • Christopher M. Cohu,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
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    • Present address: Dow AgroSciences, Portland, OR, USA
  • Onno Muller,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
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    • Present address: Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, IBG-2: Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany
  • William W. Adams III,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
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  • Barbara Demmig-Adams


Abstract

Acclimation of foliar features to cool temperature and high light was characterized in winter (Spinacia oleracea L. cv. Giant Nobel; Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynhold Col-0 and ecotypes from Sweden and Italy) versus summer (Helianthus annuus L. cv. Soraya; Cucurbita pepo L. cv. Italian Zucchini Romanesco) annuals. Significant relationships existed among leaf dry mass per area, photosynthesis, leaf thickness and palisade mesophyll thickness. While the acclimatory response of the summer annuals to cool temperature and/or high light levels was limited, the winter annuals increased the number of palisade cell layers, ranging from two layers under moderate light and warm temperature to between four and five layers under cool temperature and high light. A significant relationship was also found between palisade tissue thickness and either cross-sectional area or number of phloem cells (each normalized by vein density) in minor veins among all four species and growth regimes. The two winter annuals, but not the summer annuals, thus exhibited acclimatory adjustments of minor vein phloem to cool temperature and/or high light, with more numerous and larger phloem cells and a higher maximal photosynthesis rate. The upregulation of photosynthesis in winter annuals in response to low growth temperature may thus depend on not only (1) a greater volume of photosynthesizing palisade tissue but also (2) leaf veins containing additional phloem cells and presumably capable of exporting a greater volume of sugars from the leaves to the rest of the plant.

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