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Plant Signal Behav. 2008 Dec;3(12):1116-8.

Photosynthetic acclimation to light gradients in plant stands comes out of shade.

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Institute for General Botany and Plant Physiology; Friedrich-Schiller University Jena; Jena, Thuringia Germany.


Dense plant populations or canopies exhibit a strong enrichment in far-red wavelengths which leads to unequal excitation of the two photosystems. In the long-term plants acclimate to changes in light quality by adjusting photosystem stoichiometry and antenna structure, a mechanism called here long-term response (LTR). Using an artificial light system it is possible to mimic such naturally occurring gradients in light quality under controlled laboratory conditions. By this means we recently demonstrated that the LTR is crucial for plant fitness and survival of Arabidopsis. We could also demonstrate that the chlorophyll fluorescence parameter Fs/Fm is a genuine non-invasive functional indicator for acclimatory changes during the LTR. Here we give supportive data that the Fs/Fm can be also used to monitor the LTR in field experiments in which Arabidopsis plants were grown either under canopies or wavelength-neutral shade. Furthermore our data support the notion that acclimation responses to light quality and light quantity are separate mechanisms. Thus, the long-term response to light quality represents an important and distinct acclimation strategy for improving plant survival under changing light quality conditions.


Arabidopsis; light quality; long-term responses; photosynthetic acclimation; plant fitness; redox control


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