Light‐dependent damage to photosynthesis in olive leaves during chilling and high temperature stress


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Abstract The leaves of olive are long lived and likely to experience both chilling and high temperature stress during their life. Changes in photosynthetic CO2 assimilation resulting from chilling and high temperature stress, in both dim and high light, are investigated. The quantum yield (φ) of photosynthesis at limiting light levels was reduced following chilling (at 5°C for 12 h), in dim light by approximately 10%, and in high light by 75%; the difference being attributed to photoinhibition. Similar reductions were observed in the light‐saturated rate of CO2 uptake (Amax). Decrease in Amax correlated with a halving of the leaf internal CO2 concentration (ci), suggesting an increased limitation by stomata following photoinhibition. Leaves were apparently more susceptible to photoinhibitory damage if the whole plant, rather than the leaf alone, was chilled. On return to 26 °C, I he photosynthetic capacity recovered to pre‐stress levels within a few hours if leaves had been chilled in high light for 8 h or less, but did not fully recover from longer periods of chilling when loss of chlorophyll occurred. Leaves which were recovering from chilling in high light showed far more damage on being chilled a second time in high light. Three hours in high light at 38 °C reduced φ by 80%, but φ recovered within 4h of return to 26 °C. Although leaves of Olive are apparently less susceptible to photoinhibitory damage during chilling stress than the short‐lived leaves of chilling‐sensitive annual? crops, the results nevertheless show that photoinhibition during temperature stress is potentially a major factor influencing the photosynthetic productivity of Olive in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Oleaceae
  • chilling
  • olive
  • photoinhibition
  • photosynthesis
  • quantum yield
  • stomata
  • temperature stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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