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

Effects of Supplementary Ultraviolet-B Radiation on Rice and Pea Plants

J He, LK Huang, WS Chow, MI Whitecross and JM Anderson

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 20(2) 129 - 142
Published: 1993


To compare the effects of supplementary ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation on a tropical/subtropical and a temperate plant, two indica rice cultivars (Er Bai Ai and Lemont) and peas were exposed to supplementary UV-B radiation for 8 days (biologically effective irradiance of 0.68 W m-2, 12 h per day). Marked decreases occurred in the ratios of variable to maximum chlorophyll fluorescence yield and in the quantum yield of photosynthetic oxygen evolution over the 8 day treatment period. The greatest decline always occurred in pea leaves, while in rice, cv. Er Bai Ai was more susceptible to UV-B radiation than cv. Lemont. Compared with control plants, the content of soluble protein and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) protein decreased significantly after the UV-B treatment; the greatest decrease occurred in pea leaves, while the rate of decrease in rice was greater in cv. Er Bai Ai than cv. Lemont.

Over the 8 day UV-B treatment period, the increase of UV-B-absorbing compounds was greater in rice leaves than in pea leaves, and greater in cv. Er Bai Ai than in cv. Lemont, although cv. Lemont was more UV-B tolerant. We suggest that the increase in these compounds is not the only indicator of resistance to UV-B damage; other factors, yet to be identified, may also confer UV-B tolerance. While leaf orientation may be related to the severity of UV-B damage, naturally near-horizontal pea leaves were still much more susceptible to UV-B damage compared with rice leaves which were held horizontally over the 8 day treatment period. Brown spots appeared on the upper surface of leaves of cv. Er Bai Ai after 2 days of UV-B treatment and showed a cumulative increase with the duration of exposure. Our study confirms the multiplicity of photosynthetic responses and of different protective strategies that may account for the differential sensitivity of plants to supplementary UV-B radiation.

© CSIRO 1993

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