Photosynthetic characteristics and chlorophyll a fluorescence transient in Lonicera japonica under drought stress

  • Jie Zhao
  • Ying LangEmail author
  • Shuyong ZhangEmail author
  • Qiankun Zhao
  • Chuanyu Zhang
  • Jiangbao Xia
Original Article


Chlorophyll a fluorescence transient can reveal the degree of thermal damage to plant photosynthetic organs and provide much physiological information about PSII fleetly. However, it is not clear how it reveals photosynthetic mechanisms of plants under decreasing soil moisture. In this paper, the photosynthesis characteristics and photosystem II (PSII) activities in leaves of Lonicera japonica under 11-level soil moisture were explored by gas-exchange analysis and JIP test. Both parameters of net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and water use efficiency (WUE) exhibited an increasing–decreasing trend with the decreasing relative soil water content (RSWC). At 29.7% ≤ RSWC≤ 79.6%, the main reason for Pn decrease was stomatal limitation; at 36.4% ≤ RSWC≤ 55.1%, both Pn and WUE were higher than the average. When RSWC was below 29.7%, Pn, Tr, and WUE significantly decreased. Meanwhile, a JIP-test analysis revealed a distinct K peak with decreases in the quantum yield and energy distribution ratio (ψo or φEo) and increases in the K phase (Wk) and J phase (Vj) at RSWC≤ 29.7%, indicating that severe drought (RSWC≤ 29.7%) damaged the leaf oxygen-evolving complex, caused the accumulation of Q A in PSII electron acceptors, and, therefore, hindered the progression of the PSII electron transport chain. In addition, at RSWC≤ 29.7%, the absorption flux per CS (ABS/CSo) increased, while the phenomenological energy fluxes for TRo/CSo, ETo/CSo, RC/CSo decreased, indicating that the PSII reaction center was damaged and excessive light energy was accumulated. Therefore, the main reason for the decrease of photosynthetic efficiency was non-stomatal limitation at RSWC≤ 29.7%, and the maximum moisture deficit for the growth of Lonicera japonica is RSWC= 29.7%.


Soil drought stress Net photosynthetic rate Non-stomatal limitation Chlorophyll a fluorescence transient JIP test Lonicera japonica 



Chlorophyll a fluorescence transient


Cross section


Field capacity


Gravitational soil water content


Light saturation point


Oxygen-evolving complex


Photon flux density


Photosystem II


Relative soil water content


Volumetric soil water content


Water use efficiency

List of symbols


Absorption flux per CS at t = 0


Intercellular CO2 concentration


Electron transport flux per CS at t = 0


Stomatal conductance


Stomatal limitation


Net photosynthetic rate


The amount of active PSII reaction centers per CS at t = 0


Transpiration rate


Trapped energy flux per CS at t = 0


Relative variable fluorescence at J-step


Ratio of variable fluorescence at K-step to the amplitude FjFo


Quantum yield of electron transport at t = 0


Efficiency with which a trapped exciton can move an electron into the electron transport chain beyond QA at t = 0



The authors sincerely acknowledge the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31500511, 31700553), the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province of China (No. ZR2015CL044), and the Open Research Fund Program of Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Eco-Environmental Science for Yellow River Delta (No. 2016KFJJ04).


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Agriculture and Forestry ScienceLinyi UniversityLinyiChina
  2. 2.College of Forestry/Mountain Tai Forest Ecosystem Research Station of State Forestry AdministrationShandong Agricultural UniversityTai’anChina
  3. 3.Linyi Big Data BureauLinyiChina
  4. 4.National Forest Farm of China in FeixianLinyiChina
  5. 5.Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Eco-Environmental Science for Yellow River DeltaBinzhou UniversityBinzhouChina

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