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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Chloroplast ultrastructure, ratio of photosynthetic pigments and the chlorophyll fluorescence induction kinetics (Kautsky effect) of plants grown under high light (HL) and low light (LL) intensity and of sun and shade leaves were compared in order to find parameters which describe the differences between sun-type chloroplasts (HL-chloroplasts) and shade-type ones (LL-chloroplasts). The differences in ultrastructure between HL- and LL-chloroplasts can be quantified by measuring several parameters. As compared to LL-chloroplasts the HL-chloroplasts exhibit a lower frequency of thylakoids (in most plants), a higher proportion of exposed membranes, a lower stacking degree and lower values for the ratio between appressed to exposed membranes, a narrower grana width, fewer thylakoids per granum, a high starch content and a greater number and larger size of plastoglobuli. As compared to LL-chloroplasts, HL-chloroplasts are characterized by a higher chlorophyll a and (β-carotene content, which results in higher values for the ratio chlorophyll a/b and lower values for the ratios chlorophyll a/β-carotene (a/c), xanthophylls to β-carotene (x/c) and chlorophylls to carotenoids (a + b/x + c). This is due to a lower content of light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b proteins (LHCP1–3), which primarily contain xanthophylls as carotenoids. The new ratio a/c is found particularly useful since it is an indicator for the content of chlorophyll a/β-carotene proteins CPa and CPI + CPIa. Sun leaves with sun-type (HL) chloroplasts possess a lower ground fluorescence (fo), maximum fluorescence (fmax) and a lower steady-state fluorescence (fs) than shade leaves (LL-chloroplasts). The variable fluorescence ratio (Rvf = fr/fo) and the fluorescence decrease ratio (Rfd = fd/fs) exhibit higher values in sun and HL-leaves than in shade- and LL-leaves, indicating a higher rate of photosynthetic quantum conversion and photosynthetic activity (fr and fd denote fluorescence rise and decrease, respectively).

Affiliations: 1: Botanisches Institut der Universität


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