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

Assessment of Photosystem II Photochemical Quantum Yield by Chlorophyll Fluorescence Quenching Analysis

U Schreiber, H Hormann, C Neubauer and C Klughammer

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 22(2) 209 - 220
Published: 1995


The general principles involved in chlorophyll fluorescence quenching analysis by the saturation pulse method are presented, outlining the rationale for using the empirical fluorescence parameters Fv/Fm and Fv/Fm' as indices for the photosystem II (PSII) photochemical quantum yield, ΦII, in the dark-adapted or illuminated states, respectively. The relationship between ΦII and the quantum yield of photosynthetic electron transport is linear over a wide range of quantum flux densities. However, there is a fraction of PSII contributing approximately 30% to maximal quantum yield, which is closed at rather low quantum flux densities, while at the same time there is only a small drop in ΔF/Fm'. The details of Fm and Fm' determination by application of saturating light are critically examined, with emphasis on the situation in algae where the fluorescence rise to the peak leLel is followed by a rapid decline. For this purpose, the rapid induction kinetics upon onset of strong continuous illumination are investigated. Dark-adapted samples show two distinct intermediate fluorescence levels, I1 and I2, in the polyphasic rise from the O to the P level. The I1 level separates a biphasic 'photochemical' rise, which also can be induced by a saturating single turnover flash, from several 'thermal' phases, induction of which requires multiple turnovers at PSII. Arguments are put forward favouring the I2 level for assessment of Fm or Fm', on which calculation of Fv/Fm or ΔF/Fm' is based. It is shown that although an assessment based on the I1 level, as practised by the so-called pump- and-probe method, does lead to a consistent underestimation of ΔF/Fm, in many cases similar information as with I2 determination is obtained.

Keywords: photosynthesis, O2 evolution, fluorescence induction, polyphasic fluorescence rise, pump-and-probe method, saturation pulse method, phytoplankton

© CSIRO 1995

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