, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 3–12 | Cite as

Influence of enhanced temperature on photosynthesis, photooxidative damage, and antioxidant strategies in Ceratonia siliqua L. seedlings subjected to water deficit and rewatering

  • M. L. Osório
  • J. Osório
  • A. C. Vieira
  • S. Gonçalves
  • A. Romano
Original Papers


Predicted future climatic changes for the Mediterranean region give additional importance to the study of photooxidative stress in local economic species subjected to combined drought and high-temperature conditions. Under this context, the impact of these stresses on photosynthesis, energy partitioning, and membrane lipids, as well as the potential ability to attenuate oxidative damage, were investigated in Ceratonia siliqua L. Two thermal regimes (LT: 25/18°C; HT: 32/21°C) and three soil water conditions (control, water stress, and rewetting) were considered. HT exacerbated the adverse effects of water shortage on photosynthetic rates (P N) and PSII function. The decrease in P N was 33% at LT whereas at HT it was 84%. In spite of this, the electron transport rate (ETR) was not affected, which points to an increased allocation of reductants to sinks other than CO2 assimilation. Under LT conditions, water stress had no significant effects on yield of PSII photochemistry (ΦPSII) and yields of regulated (ΦNPQ) and nonregulated (ΦNO) energy dissipation. Conversely, drought induced a significant decrease of ΦPSII and a concomitant increase of ΦNO in HT plants, thereby favouring the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Moreover, signs of lipid peroxidation damage were detected in HT plants, in which drought caused an increase of 40% in malondialdehyde (MDA) content. Concurrently, a marked increase in proline content was observed, while the activities of catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) were unaffected. Despite the generation of a moderate oxidative stress response, C. siliqua revealed a great capability for photosynthetic recovery 36 h after rewatering, which suggests that the species can cope with predicted climate change.

Additional key words

antioxidative protection carob tree energy partitioning lipid peroxidation proline 



ascorbate peroxidase


substomatal CO2 concentration








apparent linear electron transport rate


maximum PSII photochemical efficiency


stomatal conductance








nonphotochemical quenching


net photosynthetic rate


photosynthetic photon flux density


photosystem II


reactive oxygen species


relative water content


water-stressed plants


well watered plants


leaf water potential


quantum yield of nonregulated energy dissipation of PSII


quantum yield of regulated energy dissipation of PSII


actual PSII quantum yield


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This work was supported by a grant from Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) to MLO: SFRH/BPD/35410/2007.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Osório
    • 1
  • J. Osório
    • 2
  • A. C. Vieira
    • 1
  • S. Gonçalves
    • 1
  • A. Romano
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre of Genomics and Biotechnology (IBB/CGB), Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (ICAAM), Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal

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