Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Seasonal photosynthesis and anthocyanin production in 10 broadleaf evergreen species

Nicole M. Hughes A B and William K. Smith A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Box 7325 Reynolda Station, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email: hughnm5@wfu.edu

Functional Plant Biology 34(12) 1072-1079 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP07205
Submitted: 23 August 2007  Accepted: 22 October 2007   Published: 27 November 2007

Abstract

Leaves of many evergreen species turn red when exposed to high sunlight during winter due to production of photoprotective anthocyanin pigments, while leaves of other species, lacking anthocyanin, remain green. Why some evergreen species synthesise anthocyanin pigments while others do not is currently unknown. Furthermore, the relative photosynthetic performance of anthocyanic (red) and acyanic (green) evergreens has yet to be described. Here we present seasonal ecophysiological data for five red and green broadleaf evergreen species. We hypothesise that species which synthesise anthocyanins in winter leaves correspond to those with the most drastic seasonal photosynthetic declines, as reduced energy sinks increase vulnerability to photoinhibition and need for photoprotection. Our results did not support this hypothesis, as gas exchange measurements showed no difference in mean seasonal photosynthetic capacity between red- and green-leafed species. Consistent with anthocyanin’s shading effect, red-leafed species had significantly higher chlorophyll content, lower chlorophyll a/b ratios, and higher maximum light capture efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm) than green-leafed species during the winter, but not during the summer (when all leaves were green). We conclude that anthocyanin production during winter is likely not associated with diminished photosynthetic capacity, and may simply represent an alternative photoprotective strategy utilised by some species during winter.

Additional keywords: chlorophyll, photoinhibition, photoprotection, pigments, winter.


Acknowledgements

The authors thank Spencer Bissett and Kelsey McDowell for technical assistance. Funding for this project was provided by the Vecellio Fund at Wake Forest University.


References


Adams WW, Demmig-Adams B, Rosenstiel TN, Brightwell AK, Ebbert V (2002) Photosynthesis and photoprotection in overwintering plants. Plant Biology 4, 545–557.
CrossRef |

Adams WW, Zarter CR, Ebbert V, Demmig-Adams B (2004) Photoprotective strategies of overwintering evergreens. Bioscience 54, 41–49.
CrossRef |

Bahler BD, Steffen KL, Orzolek MD (1991) Morphological and biochemical comparison of a purple-leafed and a green-leafed pepper cultivar. HortScience 26, 736.

Bigras FJ , Colombo SJ (2001) ‘Conifer cold hardiness. Tree physiology.’ (Kluwer Academic Publishers: The Netherlands)

Burger J, Edwards GE (1996) Photosynthetic efficiency, and photodamage by UV and visible radiation, in red versus green leaf coleus varieties. Plant & Cell Physiology 37, 395–399.

Codling EA, Hill NA (2005) Sampling rate effects on measurements of correlated and biased random walks. Journal of Theoretical Biology 233, 573–588.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Cui M, Vogelmann TC, Smith WK (1991) Chlorophyll and light gradients in sun and shade leaves of Spinacia oleracea. Plant, Cell & Environment 14, 493–500.
CrossRef |

Davis SD, Sperry JS, Hacke UG (1999) The relationship between xylem conduit diameter and cavitation caused by freezing. American Journal of Botany 86, 1367–1372.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Demmig-Adams B, Adams WWIII, Barker DH, Logan BA, Bowling DR, Verhoeven AS (1996) Using chlorophyll fluorescence to assess the fraction of absorbed light allocated to thermal dissipation of excess excitation. Physiologia Plantarum 98, 253–264.
CrossRef |

Demmig-Adams B (1998) Survey of thermal energy dissipation and pigment composition in sun and shade leaves. Plant & Cell Physiology 39, 474–482.

Feild TS, Lee DW, Holbrook NM (2001) Why leaves turn red in autumn. The role of anthocyanins in senescing leaves of red-osier dogwood. Plant Physiology 127, 566–574.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Gould KS, Kuhn DN, Lee DW, Oberbauer SF (1995) Why leaves are sometimes red. Nature 378, 241–242.
CrossRef |

Gould KS, Vogelmann TC, Han T, Clearwater MJ (2002) Profiles of photosynthesis within red and green leaves of Quintinia serrata. Physiologia Plantarum 116, 127–133.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Hoch WA, Zeldin EL, McCown BH (2001) Physiological significance of anthocyanins during autumnal leaf senescence. Tree Physiology 21, 1–8.
PubMed |


Hopkins WG , Hüner NPA (2004) Photosynthetic electron transport. In ‘Introduction to plant physiology’. (Eds WG Hopkins, NP Hüner) pp. 68–71. (John Wiley: New York)

Hughes NM, Burkey KO, Neufeld HS (2005) Functional role of anthocyanins in high-light winter leaves of the evergreen herb, Galax urceolata. The New Phytologist 168, 575–587.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Hüner NPA, Öquist G, Sarhan F (1998) Energy balance and acclimation to light and cold. Trends in Plant Science 3, 224–230.
CrossRef |

Koike T (1990) Autumn coloring, photosynthetic performance and leaf development of deciduous broad-leaved trees in relation to forest succession. Tree Physiology 7, 21–32.
PubMed |


Krause GH (1994) Photoinhibition induced by low temperatures. In ‘Photoinhibition of photosynthesis. From molecular mechanisms to the field’. (Eds NR Baker, JR Bowyer) pp. 331–348. (BIOS Scientific Publ.: Oxford)

Larcher W (2003) The light response of photosynthesis. In ‘Physiological plant ecology’. pp. 111–120. (Springer: New York)

Lee DW, Gould KS (2002) Why leaves turn red. American Scientist 90, 524–531.
CrossRef |

Lee DW, O’Keefe J, Holbrook NM, Feild TS (2003) Pigment dynamics and autumn leaf senescence in a New England deciduous forest, eastern USA. Ecological Research 18, 677–694.
CrossRef |

Liakopoulos G, Nikolopoulos D, Klouvatou A, Vekkos K-A, Manetas Y, Karabourniotis G (2006) The photoprotective role of epidermal anthocyanins and surface pubescence in young leaves of grapevine (Vitis vinifera). Annals of Botany 98, 257–265.
CrossRef | PubMed |

List RJ (1971) ‘Smithsonian Meteorological Tables.’ (Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington D.C.) 527 pp.

Manetas Y, Petropoulou Y, Psaras GK, Drinia A (2003) Exposed red (anthocyanic) leaves of Quercus coccifera display shade characteristics. Functional Plant Biology 30, 265–270.
CrossRef |

Mittler R (2002) Oxidative stress, antioxidants, and stress tolerance. Trends in Plant Science 7, 405–410.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Murray JR, Hackett WP (1991) Dihydroflavonol reductase activity in relation to differential anthocyanin accumulation in juvenile and mature phase Hedera helix L. Plant Physiology 97, 343–351.
PubMed |


Nilsen ET (1992) Thermonastic leaf movements: a synthesis of research with Rhododendron. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 110, 205–233.

Osmond CB (1981) Photorespiration and photoinhibition: some implications for the energetics of photosynthesis. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 639, 77–98.

Öquist G, Hüner NPA (2003) Photosynthesis of overwintering evergreen plants. Annual Review of Plant Biology 54, 329–355.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Pietrini F, Massacci A (1998) Leaf anthocyanin content changes in Zea mays L. grown at low temperature: significance for the relationship between the quantum of PS II and the apparent quantum yield of CO2 assimilation. Photosynthesis Research 58, 213–219.
CrossRef |

Porra RJ (2002) The chequered history of the development and use of simultaneous equations for the accurate determination of chlorophylls a and b. Photosynthesis Research 73, 149–156.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Powles SB (1984) Photoinhibition of photosynthesis induced by visible light. Annual Review of Plant Physiology 35, 15–44.
CrossRef |

Taneda H, Tateno M (2005) Hydraulic conductivity, photosynthesis and leaf water balance in six evergreen woody species from fall to winter. Tree Physiology 25, 299–306.
PubMed |


Tranquillini W (1964) The physiology of plants at high altitudes. Annual Review of Plant Physiology 15, 345–362.
CrossRef |

Uemura M, Steponkus PL (1999) Cold acclimation in plants: relationship between the lipid composition and the cryostability of the plasma membrane. Journal of Plant Research 112, 245–254.
CrossRef |

Verhoeven AS, Adams WW, Demmig-Adams B (1999) The xanthophyll cycle and acclimation of Pinus ponderosa and Malva neglecta to winter stress. Oecologia 118, 277–287.
CrossRef |

Zar JH (1999) ‘Biostatistical analysis.’ (Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA)








Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (38)