, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 13–21 | Cite as

Effects of temperature and irradiance on quantum yield of PSII photochemistry and xanthophyll cycle in a tropical and a temperate species

  • A. Dongsansuk
  • C. Lütz
  • G. Neuner


The effect of a wide range of temperatures (−15 and 60°C) in darkness or under strong irradiation [1,600 μmol(photon) m−2 s−1] on quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry and xanthophyll cycle pigments was investigated in a tropical fruit crop (Musa sp.) and a temperate spring flowering plant (Allium ursinum L.). In darkness within the nonlethal thermal window of A. ursinum (from −6.7 to 47.7°C; 54.5 K) and of Musa sp. (from −2.2°C to 49.5°C; 51.7 K) maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry (Fv/Fm) was fairly unaffected by temperature over more than 40 K. At low temperature Fv/Fm started to drop with ice nucleation but significantly only with initial frost injuries (temperature at 10% frost damage; LT10). The critical high temperature threshold for PSII (Tc) was 43.8°C in A. ursinum and 44.7°C in Musa sp. Under strong irradiation, exposure to temperatures exceeding the growth ones but being still nonlethal caused photoinhibition in both species. Severity of photoinhibition increased with increasing distance to the growth temperature range. ΔF/Fm′ revealed distinctly different optimum temperature ranges: 27–36°C for Musa sp. and 18–27°C for A. ursinum exceeding maximum growth temperature by 2–7 K. In both species only at temperatures > 30°C zeaxanthin increased and violaxanthin decreased significantly. At nonlethal low temperature relative amounts of xanthophylls remained unchanged. At temperatures > 40°C β-carotene increased significantly in both species. In Musa sp. lutein and neoxanthin were significantly increased at 45°C, in A. ursinum lutein remained unchanged, neoxanthin levels decreased in the supraoptimal temperature range. In darkness, Fv/Fm was highly temperature-insensitive in both species. Under strong irradiation, whenever growth temperature was exceeded, photoinhibition occurred with xanthophylls being changed only under supraoptimal temperature conditions as an antiradical defence mechanism.

Additional key words

Allium ursinum β-carotene freezing stress heat ice nucleation lutein Musa sp. photosynthetic pigments 



chlorophyll a(b)


minimal fluorescence in the dark-adapted state


temperature-dependent change in minimal fluorescence


maximal fluorescence in the dark-adapted state


maximal fluorescence in the light-adapted state


steady state fluorescence


variable fluorescence


maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry


effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry

LT10 (LT50)

temperature at 10% (50%) heat or frost damage, respectively


photosynthetic photon flux density


photosystem II


reactive oxygen species


critical high temperature threshold of the F0/T curve calculated as the intersection of a horizontal line at the level of F0 at 20°C and of a line fitted visually to the fast rising phase


peak temperature of the F0/T curve


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BotanyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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