, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 548–558 | Cite as

Comparison of thermostability of PSII between the chromatic and green leaf cultivars of Amaranthus tricolor L.

  • Z. Shu
  • L. Shao
  • H. -Y. Huang
  • X. -Q. Zeng
  • Z. -F. Lin
  • G. -Y. Chen
  • C. -L. Peng


In the present study, we investigated the antioxidative potential in leaves of the chromatic (CC) versus green (GC) Amaranthus tricolor L. under moderate high-temperature stress at 45°C. Before heat stress, CC had significantly higher levels of betacyanins [about 3.2 mg g−1(FM)] than the green [1.8 mg g−1(FM) (p<0.01), while similar chlorophyll (Chl) content [about 2 mg g−1(FM)] was observed between both cultivars. After exposure to high temperature (45°C) for 6 days, betacyanins in leaves of CC were remarkably increased (about 2 times of that in control samples grown at 30°C). In contrast, betacyanins in GC significantly decreased by 56% in comparison with that of the control. Chl level in CC was higher than that in GC after heat stress for 6 days. Flavonoids and total phenolics in both cultivars were increased, but much more in CC. Significantly less H2O2 accumulation was observed in the leaves and stems of CC than in those of GC under heat stress. Interestingly, much stronger circadian oscillation in fluorescence was observed in both cultivars after treatment at 45°C, which suggested that heat stress stimulates endogenous rhythms of photosystem II (PSII). Under moderate high-temperature stress, Chl fluorescence parameters Fv/Fm (maximum quantum yield of PSII), qP (coefficient of photochemical quenching), ΦPSII (effective PSII quantum yield), and ETR (electron transport rate) exhibited a gradual decrease, NPQ (nonphotochemical quenching) showed a slight increase followed by a gradual decline, whereas Fo (minimum fluorescence of a dark-adapted leaf) increased continuously. In contrast to GC, after 120 h of high-temperature treatment, CC exhibited significantly lower Fo level, and higher levels of Fv/Fm and NPQ. It is clear that PSII in CC was more stable than that in GC. The results indicate that betacyanins are an effective antioxidant, and probably contribute greatly to the higher thermal stability of PSII and higher tolerance to heat stress.

Additional key words

Amaranthus tricolor L. betacyanins accumulation circadian oscillation high temperature thermal stability of PSII 



chromatic cultivar


electron transport rate


minimum fluorescence of a dark-adapted leaf


maximal fluorescence yield of a dark-adapted leaf


maximum quantum yield of PSII


fresh mass


green cultivar




nonphotochemical quenching


phenylalanine ammonia-lyase


photosystem II


coefficient of photochemical quenching


reactive oxygen species


effective PSII quantum yield


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We thank Professor Fred Chow (Research School of Biology, the Australian National University) for critical reading of the manuscript and helpful suggestions. This research is financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (30770173, 30870385), The State Key Basic Research and Development Plan of China (973 Program; 2009CB118504).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Shu
    • 1
    • 4
  • L. Shao
    • 2
  • H. -Y. Huang
    • 5
  • X. -Q. Zeng
    • 1
  • Z. -F. Lin
    • 3
  • G. -Y. Chen
    • 4
  • C. -L. Peng
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Life Science, Key Laboratory of Ecology and Environmental Science in Guangdong Higher EducationSouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of BiologyZhao Qing UniversityZhaoqingChina
  3. 3.South China Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  5. 5.Department of Chemistry and Life scienceXiangnan CollegeChenzhou, HunanChina

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