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Comparative Study on the Changes in Photosynthetic Activity of the Homoiochlorophyllous Desiccation-Tolerant Haberlea Rhodopensis and Desiccation-Sensitive Spinach Leaves During Desiccation and Rehydration


The functional peculiarities and responses of the photosynthetic system in the flowering homoiochlorophyllous desiccation-tolerant (HDT) Haberlea rhodopensis and the non-desiccation-tolerant spinach were compared during desiccation and rehydration. Increasing rate of water loss clearly modifies the kinetic parameters of fluorescence induction, thermoluminescence emission, far-red induced P700 oxidation and oxygen evolution in the leaves of both species. The values of these parameters returned nearly to the control level after 24 h rehydration only of the leaves of HDT plant. PS II was converted in a non-functional state in desiccated spinach in accordance with the changes in membrane permeability, malondialdehyde, proline and H2O2 contents. Moreover, our data showed a strong reduction of the total number of PS II centers in Haberlea without any changes in the energetics of the charge recombination. We consider this observation, together with the previously reported unusually high temperature of B-band (S2QB-) emission of Haberlea to reflect some specific adaptive characteristics of the photosynthetic system. As far as we know this is the first time when such adaptive characteristics and mechanism of the photosynthetic system of a flowering HDT higher plant is described. These features of Haberlea can explain the fast recovery of its photosynthesis after desiccation, which enable this HDT plant to rapidly take advantage of frequent changes in water availability.

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DT plants:

desiccation tolerant plants

HDT plants:

homoiochlorophyllous desiccation tolerant plants

F0, Fm:

minimum and maximum dark adapted fluorescence yield, respectively

F′ m :

maximum light adapted fluorescence yield


quantum yield of Photosystem II photochemistry in the dark adapted state


efficiency of excitation capture by open Photosystem II reaction centers

FR light:

far-red light


fresh weight



PDT plants:

poikilochlorophyllous desiccation tolerant plants


photochemical quenching


quantum yield of Photosystem II photochemistry in the light adapted state


Photosystem I


Photosystem II


fluorescence decrease ratio


relative humidity


relative water content




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Correspondence to Katya Georgieva.

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Georgieva, K., Maslenkova, L., Peeva, V. et al. Comparative Study on the Changes in Photosynthetic Activity of the Homoiochlorophyllous Desiccation-Tolerant Haberlea Rhodopensis and Desiccation-Sensitive Spinach Leaves During Desiccation and Rehydration. Photosynth Res 85, 191–203 (2005).

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  • chlorophyll fluorescence
  • desiccation tolerant plant
  • drought stress
  • photosynthesis
  • thermoluminescence