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Photosynth Res. 2007 Jul-Sep;93(1-3):235-44. Epub 2007 May 8.

Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging of photosynthetic activity in sun and shade leaves of trees.

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Botanisches Institut, University of Karlsruhe, Kaiserstr. 12, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany.


The differences in pigment levels, photosynthetic activity and the chlorophyll fluorescence decrease ratio R (Fd) (as indicator of photosynthetic rates) of green sun and shade leaves of three broadleaf trees (Platanus acerifolia Willd., Populus alba L., Tilia cordata Mill.) were compared. Sun leaves were characterized by higher levels of total chlorophylls a + b and total carotenoids x + c as well as higher values for the weight ratio chlorophyll (Chl) a/b (sun leaves 3.23-3.45; shade leaves: 2.74-2.81), and lower values for the ratio chlorophylls to carotenoids (a + b)/(x + c) (with 4.44-4.70 in sun leaves and 5.04-5.72 in shade leaves). Sun leaves exhibited higher photosynthetic rates P (N )on a leaf area basis (mean of 9.1-10.1 micromol CO(2) m(-2 )s(-1)) and Chl basis, which correlated well with the higher values of stomatal conductance G (s) (range 105-180 mmol m(-2 )s(-1)), as compared to shade leaves (G (s) range 25-77 mmol m(-2 )s(-1); P (N): 3.2-3.7 micromol CO(2) m(-2 )s(-1)). The higher photosynthetic rates could also be detected via imaging the Chl fluorescence decrease ratio R (Fd), which possessed higher values in sun leaves (2.8-3.0) as compared to shade leaves (1.4-1.8). In addition, via R (Fd) images it was shown that the photosynthetic activity of the leaves of all trees exhibits a large heterogeneity across the leaf area, and in general to a higher extent in sun leaves than in shade leaves.

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