, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 161–171 | Cite as

Evaluation of cold stress of young industrial chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) plants by chlorophyll a fluorescence imaging. I. Light induction curve

  • S. Devacht
  • P. Lootens
  • J. Baert
  • J. van Waes
  • E. van Bockstaele
  • I. Roldán-Ruiz
Original Papers


Industrial chicory, Cichorium intybus L., is cultivated for the production of inulin. Most varieties of industrial chicory exhibit rather poor early growth, which limits further yield improvements in their European cultivation area. The poor early growth could be due to suboptimum adaptation of the gene pool to growth at low temperatures, sometimes in combination with high light intensities, which is typical of early-spring mornings. We have used chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence to evaluate the response of young plants of the cultivar ‘Hera’ to low temperatures and high light intensities. Plants were grown at three temperatures: 16°C (reference), 8°C (intermediate), and 4°C (cold stress). Light-response measurements were carried out at different light intensities in combination with different measurement temperatures. Parameters that quantify the photosystem II (PSII) operating efficiency (including PSII maximum efficiency and PSII efficiency factor) and nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) are important to evaluate the stress in terms of severity, the photosynthetics processes affected, and acclimation to lower growth temperatures. The results clearly demonstrate that in young industrial chicory plants the photosynthetic system adapts to lower growth temperatures. However, to fully understand the plant response to the stresses studied and to evaluate the long-term effect of the stress applied on the growth dynamics, the subsequent dark relaxation dynamics should also be investigated.

Additional key words

chilling low temperature nonphotochemical quenching photochemical quenching photoinhibition screening 



analysis of variance




electrical conductivity


the minimum Chl fluorescence in dark-adapted state


the minimum Chl fluorescence in light-adapted state


the maximum Chl fluorescence in dark-adapted state


the maximum Chl fluorescence in light-adapted state


the difference between Fm′ and F′ (measured immediately before application of the saturation pulse used to measure Fm′)


the operating quantum efficiency of PSII photochemistry


the PSII efficiency factor


the variable (differential) fluorescence in dark-adapted state (Fm − F0)


the variable fluorescence in light-adapted state (Fm′ − F0′)


the maximum quantum efficiency of PSII photochemistry in dark-adapted state


the maximum quantum efficiency of PSII photochemistry in light-adapted state


the fraction of PSII centers that are capable of photochemistry


growth temperature


measurement light intensity


measurement temperature


nonphotochemical quenching of the Chl fluorescence signal


pulse amplitude modulated


photosynthetic active radiation


photosystem II


nonphotochemical quenching coefficient of the Chl fluorescence signal


standard error


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The authors thank to Laurent Gevaert, Luc Van Gijseghem and Christian Hendrickx for their help with the measurements and the cultivation and maintenance of the plants. Miriam Levenson is acknowledged for her English language review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Devacht
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Lootens
    • 1
  • J. Baert
    • 1
  • J. van Waes
    • 1
  • E. van Bockstaele
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. Roldán-Ruiz
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Sciences UnitInstitute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO)MelleBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty Bioscience Engineering, Department of Plant ProductionGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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