Istituto di biometeorologia     
Baraldi R., Canaccini F., Cortes S., Magnani F., Rapparini F., Zamboni A., Raddi S. Role of xanthophyll cycle-mediated photoprotection in Arbutus unedo plants exposed to water stress during the Mediterranean summer. In: Photosynthetica, vol. 46 (3) pp. 378 - 386. Springer, 2008.
We analyzed the response of potted strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) seedlings exposed to water stress by withholding water for 10 d (WS). Leaf water potential, net CO2 assimilation, and stomatal conductance decreased with increasing water deficit. A 30 % reduction of chlorophyll (Chl) content in the antenna complexes was observed in WS-plants. Simultaneously, a decline of photochemical efficiency (F-v/F-m) occurred as a result of an excess of solar radiation energy when carbon assimilation was limited by stomata closure due to soil water deficit. The non-photochemical quenching of Chl fluorescence (Phi(NPQ)) significantly increased, as well as the leaf contents of zeaxanthin (Z) and antheraxanthin (A) at the expense of violaxanthin during the WS-period. Elevated predawn contents of de-epoxidized xanthophyll cycle components were associated with a sustained lowering of predawn photosystem 2 efficiency; this suggested an engagement of Z+A in a state primed for energy dissipation. Thus, the ability of strawberry trees to maintain the functionality of the xanthophyll cycle during the Mediterranean summer is an efficient mechanism to prevent irreversible damages to the photosynthetic machinery through thermal energy dissipation in the antenna and the reduction in photochemical efficiency.
DOI: 10.1007/s11099-008-0069-x
Subject Chlorophyll
Fluorescence induction
Net photosynthetic rate
Photochemical efficiency
Photosystem 2
Stomatal conductance
Strawberry tree
Water potential

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