Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Differently oriented leaves of Yucca schidigera and Yucca brevifolia were characterized in the Mojave Desert with respect to photosystem II and xanthophyll cycle activity during three different seasons, including the hot and dry summer, the relatively cold winter, and the mild spring season. Photosynthetic utilization of a high percentage of the light absorbed in PSII was observed in all leaves only during the spring, whereas very high levels of photoprotective, thermal energy dissipation were employed both in the summer and the winter season in all exposed leaves of both species. Both during the summer and the winter season, when energy dissipation levels were high diurnally, xanthophyll cycle pools (relative to either Chl or other carotenoids) were higher relative to the spring, and a nocturnal retention of high levels of zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin (Z + A) occurred in all exposed leaves of both species. Although this nocturnal retention of Z + A was associated with nocturnal maintenance of a low PSII efficiency (Fv/Fm) on a cold winter night, pre-dawn Fv/Fm was high in (Z + A)-retaining leaves following a warm summer night. This indicates nocturnal engagement of Z + A in a state primed for energy dissipation throughout the cold winter night – while high levels of retained Z + A were not engaged for energy dissipation prior to sunrise on a warm summer morning. Possible mechanisms for a lack of sustained engagement of retained Z + A for energy dissipation at elevated temperatures are discussed.
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