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

Light-stimulated heat tolerance in leaves of two neotropical tree species, Ficus insipida and Calophyllum longifolium

G. Heinrich Krause A B C , Klaus Winter A , Barbara Krause A and Aurelio Virgo A

A Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado Postal 0843-03092, Panama City, Republic of Panama.

B Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

C Corresponding author. Email: ghkrause@uni-duesseldorf.de

Functional Plant Biology 42(1) 42-51 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP14095
Submitted: 27 March 2014  Accepted: 25 June 2014   Published: 20 August 2014

Abstract

Previous heat tolerance tests of higher plants have been mostly performed with darkened leaves. However, under natural conditions, high leaf temperatures usually occur during periods of high solar radiation. In this study, we demonstrate small but significant increases in the heat tolerance of illuminated leaves. Leaf disks of mature sun leaves from two neotropical tree species, Ficus insipida Willd. and Calophyllum longifolium Willd., were subjected to 15 min of heat treatment in the light (500 µmol photons m–2 s–1) and in the dark. Tissue temperatures were controlled by floating the disks on the surface of a water bath. PSII activity was determined 24 h and 48 h after heating using chlorophyll a fluorescence. Permanent tissue damage was assessed visually during long-term storage of leaf sections under dim light. In comparison to heat treatments in the dark, the critical temperature (T50) causing a 50% decline of the fluorescence ratio Fv/Fm was increased by ~1°C (from ~52.5°C to ~53.5°C) in the light. Moreover, illumination reduced the decline of Fv/Fm as temperatures approached T50. Visible tissue damage was reduced following heat treatment in the light. Experiments with attached leaves of seedlings exposed to increasing temperatures in a gas exchange cuvette also showed a positive effect of light on heat tolerance.

Additional keywords: carbon dioxide assimilation, dark respiration, global warming, necrosis, transpiration.


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