The physiological response of the sweet cherry leaf to non-freezing low temperatures

Abstract

The effect of exposure of sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium L.) to non-freezing low temperature was investigated by measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence, gas exchange parameters and chlorophyll content in two experiments. In Experiment I, cultivars ‘Grace Star’ and ‘Schneiders’ were exposed to an average of 4.7 °C 21 and 27 days after full blooming (DAFB) and in Experiment II, cultivar ‘Grace Star’ to 2.2 °C 50 DAFB, for one, two or three consecutive nights. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of low temperature exposure (LTE) on leaf physiology, recovery time and differences between cultivars in response to chilling stress. After the first, second and third LTE, a decrease in maximum and effective quantum yield of PS II (Fv/Fm and Fv′/Fm′), net photosynthesis (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration (E) was observed. Multiple LTE caused a greater physiological disturbance than single LTE. The recovery time after multiple LTE was prolonged. Trees with one and two LTE reached similar values to the controls within 24 and 48 h, respectively, while trees with three LTE did not reach within 48 h. The LTE in Experiment I showed no effect on Fv/Fm, while two LTE induced lower Pn, gs and E. After LTE, no differences between cultivars were found. The effect of chilling stress was more pronounced at lower temperatures and when the trees were chilled for several consecutive nights.

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Abbreviations

PS II:

Photosystem II

Fv/Fm :

Maximum quantum yield of photosystem II

Fv′/Fm′:

Effective quantum yield of photosystem II

Pn:

Net photosynthesis

gs:

Stomatal conductance

E:

Transpiration

Ci:

Intercellular leaf CO2 concentration

CSR:

Cold storage room

DAFB:

Days after full blooming

GDD:

Growing degree days

NPQ:

Nonphotochemical quenching

Td:

Average daily temperature

Tn:

Average night temperature

Tmin:

Minimum night temperature

SE:

Standard error

LTE:

Low temperature exposure

LT:

Low temperature

LT1:

One exposure to low temperature

LT2:

Two consecutive exposures to low temperature

LT3:

Three consecutive exposures to low temperature

.-24:

Measurements before starting an experiment I (at time -24)

LT1.0:

Measurements immediately after one low temperature exposure

LT2.0:

Measurements immediately after two consecutive low temperature exposures

LT3.0:

Measurements immediately after three consecutive low temperature exposures

LT1.24:

Measurements 24 h after one low temperature exposure

LT2.24:

Measurements 24 h after two consecutive low temperature exposures

LT3.24:

Measurements 24 h after three consecutive low temperature exposures

LT1.48:

Measurements 48 h after one low temperature exposure

LT2.48:

Measurements 48 h after two consecutive low temperature exposures

LT3.48:

Measurements 48 h after three consecutive low temperature exposures

C.-24:

Control measurements before starting an experiment I (at time -24)

C.0:

Control measurements at time 0

C.24:

Control measurements at time 24

C.48:

Control measurements at time 48

C.72:

Control measurements at time 72

C.96:

Control measurements at time 96

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), Young Researchers Program (MV) and research core funding nos. P4-0013 (MV, MH, VU) and P4-0085 (DK, DV).

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All authors conceived and designed the work. MV, MH, DV and VU participated in data collection. DK and MV performed the statistical analyses; MV wrote manuscript, VU, DV and DK edited and critically revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the paper.

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Correspondence to Matej Vosnjak.

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Communicated by Heakeun Yun, Ph.D.

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Vosnjak, M., Kastelec, D., Vodnik, D. et al. The physiological response of the sweet cherry leaf to non-freezing low temperatures. Hortic. Environ. Biotechnol. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13580-020-00315-w

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Keywords

  • Chilling stress
  • Leaf physiology
  • Prunus avium
  • Photochemical efficiency
  • Photosynthesis
  • Recovery