, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 395–402 | Cite as

Diurnal course of photochemical activity of winter-adapted Scots pine at subzero temperatures



The photochemical activity of native Central Siberian Scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestris L) was estimated from the middle of February to the middle of March 2001. We measured chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence in attached intact needles from trees located approx. 30 km west of the Yenisey river (60°44′N, 89°09′E) near the village of Zotino. In this period, the air temperature varied between −39 °C and +7 °C. At temperatures below −10 °C, P. sylvestris needles did not exhibit any variable Chl fluorescence during the daylight period. During the night, however, the effective quantum yield of photosystem 2 (PS2) photochemistry, Φ22 = (Fm′ − Ft)/Fm′), increased from values near zero to values between 0.05 and 0.20 depending on the needle temperature and sample investigated. The increase started soon after dusk and lasted for 3–6 h depending on the temperature. A faster increase of Φ2 was found for temperatures around −16 °C, and lower rates occurred at lower temperatures. Irrespective of the temperature, Φ2 decreased rapidly to near zero values at dawn, when the photosynthetic photon flux density increased to about 1–5 µmol m−2 s−1, and remained near zero throughout the day. At temperatures higher than −10 °C, the diurnal decrease and the nocturnal increase of Φ2 were less distinct or disappeared completely. Hence the winter-adapted Scots pine maintains some photochemical activity of PS2 even at extremely cold temperatures. The capacity of photochemical reactions below −10 °C is, however, very limited and PS2 photochemistry is saturated by an extremely low irradiance (less than 5 µmol m−2 s−1).

Additional key words

chlorophyll fluorescence cold adaptation diurnal changes photosystem 2 Pinus sylvestris L. quantum yield 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Experimental Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Praha 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant Molecular BiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Physical BiologyUniversity of South BohemiaNove HradyCzech Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of Biology, Department of Plant PhysiologyUniversity of South BohemiaCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic

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