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MEGAN BECKETT, FRANCESCO LORETO, VIOLETA VELIKOVA, CECILIA BRUNETTI, MARTINA DI FERDINANDO, MASSIMILIANO TATTINI, CARLO CALFAPIETRA and JILL M. FARRANT Photosynthetic limitations and volatile and non-volatile isoprenoids in the poikilochlorophyllous resurrection plant Xerophyta humilis during dehydration and rehydration Plant, Cell & Environment 35

Article first published online: 5 JUN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2012.02536.x

Understanding how plants can adapt to and cope with extreme environments may lead to major scientific discoveries. Xerophyta humilis is a resurrection plant with the amazing capacity to fully dry leaves during extreme drought while restoring photosynthesis from the same leaves once rehydrated. Here it is shown that photosynthesis of Xerophyta is mainly photochemically limited during dehydration. This is also the first report that a resurrection plant emits isoprene, a volatile molecule acting as a membrane strengthener and an antioxidant in several mesophytes. It is postulated that, in Xerophyta, isoprene plays a role during early stages of dehydration, whereas non-volatile isoprenoids become more effective once the stress is severe.

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