Developmental of photosynthetic pigments and changes in chlorophyll fluorescence of dark-grown rice seedlings were studied during greening. Light-illumination stimulated accumulations of total chlorophylls and carotenoids in leaves of etiolated seedlings, accompanied by a decrease in the ratio of chlorophyll a to chlorophyll b. When the composition of carotenoids was analyzed, violaxanthin level was shown to increase up to 24 h after the beginning of light illumination, followed by a subsequent decline. In contrast to this, zeaxanthin level increased consistently with progress of deetiolatin. The role of zeaxanthin is discussed in relation to chlorophyll fluorescence quenching. A study on chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics of the rice seedlings being deetiolated showed a time-dependent increase in Fv/Fm (yield of variable fluorescence/maximum yield of fluoresecnece) ratios, indicating that greening is responsible for the activation of photochemical reaction centers of the photosystem. When chlorophyll fluorescence quenching was examined, qNP (nonphotochemical quenching) and qE (energy-dependent quenching) exhibited a time-dependent decline with progress of greening. The presented results indicate that greening-induced development of the photosynthetic machinery is associated the conversion of the carotenoid violaxanthin to zeaxanthin, suggesting that zeaxanthin synthesized in the illuminated leaves may provide the protection from the damage when etiolated plants are exposed to light.
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