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Plant Physiol. 1999 Mar;119(3):1101-6.

Restrictions to carbon dioxide conductance and photosynthesis in spinach leaves recovering from salt stress

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  • 1Universita' degli Studi del Molise, Dipartimento Di Science Animali, Vegetali e Dell' Ambiente, Via De Sanctis, 86100 Campobasso, Italy (S.D., A.A.).


Salt accumulation in spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) leaves first inhibits photosynthesis by decreasing stomatal and mesophyll conductances to CO2 diffusion and then impairs ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (S. Delfine, A. Alvino, M. Zacchini, F. Loreto [1998] Aust J Plant Physiol 25: 395-402). We measured gas exchange and fluorescence in spinach recovering from salt accumulation. When a 21-d salt accumulation was reversed by 2 weeks of salt-free irrigation (rewatering), stomatal and mesophyll conductances and photosynthesis partially recovered. For the first time, to our knowledge, it is shown that a reduction of mesophyll conductance can be reversed and that this may influence photosynthesis. Photosynthesis and conductances did not recover when salt drainage was restricted and Na content in the leaves was greater than 3% of the dry matter. Incomplete recovery of photosynthesis in rewatered and control leaves may be attributed to an age-related reduction of conductances. Biochemical properties were not affected by the 21-d salt accumulation. However, ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase activity and content were reduced by a 36- to 50-d salt accumulation. Photochemical efficiency was reduced only in 50-d salt-stressed leaves because of a decrease in the fraction of open photosystem II centers. A reduction in chlorophyll content and an increase in the chlorophyll a/b ratio were observed in 43- and 50-d salt-stressed leaves. Low chlorophyll affects light absorptance but is unlikely to change light partitioning between photosystems.

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