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

Simultaneous phenotyping of leaf growth and chlorophyll fluorescence via GROWSCREEN FLUORO allows detection of stress tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana and other rosette plants

Marcus Jansen A , Frank Gilmer A , Bernhard Biskup A , Kerstin A. Nagel A , Uwe Rascher A , Andreas Fischbach A , Sabine Briem A , Georg Dreissen A , Susanne Tittmann A , Silvia Braun A , Iris De Jaeger B , Michael Metzlaff B , Ulrich Schurr A , Hanno Scharr A and Achim Walter A C

A Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere ICG-3 (Phytosphere), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany.

B Bayer BioScience N.V., Technologiepark 38, 9052 Gent, Belgium.

C Corresponding author. Email:

This paper originates from a presentation at the 1st International Plant Phenomics Symposium, Canberra, Australia, April 2009.

Functional Plant Biology 36(11) 902-914
Submitted: 30 April 2009  Accepted: 3 August 2009   Published: 5 November 2009


Stress caused by environmental factors evokes dynamic changes in plant phenotypes. In this study, we deciphered simultaneously the reaction of plant growth and chlorophyll fluorescence related parameters using a novel approach which combines existing imaging technologies (GROWSCREEN FLUORO). Three different abiotic stress situations were investigated demonstrating the benefit of this approach to distinguish between effects related to (1) growth, (2) chlorophyll-fluorescence, or (3) both of these aspects of the phenotype. In a drought stress experiment with more than 500 plants, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) deficient lines of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh showed increased relative growth rates (RGR) compared with C24 wild-type plants. In chilling stress, growth of PARP and C24 lines decreased rapidly, followed by a decrease in Fv/Fm. Here, PARP-plants showed a more pronounced decrease of Fv/Fm than C24, which can be interpreted as a more efficient strategy for survival in mild chilling stress. Finally, the reaction of Nicotiana tabacum L. to altered spectral composition of the intercepted light was monitored as an example of a moderate stress situation that affects chlorophyll-fluorescence related, but not growth-related parameters. The examples investigated in this study show the capacity for improved plant phenotyping based on an automated and simultaneous evaluation of growth and photosynthesis at high throughput.

Additional keywords: chilling stress, drought, dynamic processes, image processing, Nicotiana tabacum, PARP, phenomics.


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