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Photosynth Res. 2011 Feb;107(2):209-14. doi: 10.1007/s11120-010-9606-0. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

Use of a SPAD-502 meter to measure leaf chlorophyll concentration in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Biology, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom.

Erratum in

  • Photosynth Res. 2011 May;108(1):89.


The SPAD-502 meter is a hand-held device that is widely used for the rapid, accurate and non-destructive measurement of leaf chlorophyll concentrations. It has been employed extensively in both research and agricultural applications, with a range of different plant species. However, its utility has not been fully exploited in relation to the most intensively studied model organism for plant science research, Arabidopsis thaliana. Measurements with the SPAD-502 meter produce relative SPAD meter values that are proportional to the amount of chlorophyll present in the leaf. In order to convert these values into absolute units of chlorophyll concentration, calibration curves must be derived and utilized. Here, we present calibration equations for Arabidopsis that can be used to convert SPAD values into total chlorophyll per unit leaf area (nmol/cm(2); R(2) = 0.9960) or per unit fresh weight of leaf tissue (nmol/mg; R(2) = 0.9809). These relationships were derived using a series of Arabidopsis chloroplast biogenesis mutants that exhibit chlorophyll deficiencies of varying severity, and were verified by the subsequent analysis of senescent or light-stressed leaves. Our results revealed that the converted SPAD values differ from photometric measurements of solvent-extracted chlorophyll by just ~6% on average.

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