Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 119–139 | Cite as

Theoretical assessment of alternative mechanisms for non-photochemical quenching of PS II fluorescence in barley leaves

  • Robin G. Walters
  • Peter Horton
Regular Paper


The components of non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching (qN) in barley leaves have been quantified by a combination of relaxation kinetics analysis and 77 K fluorescence measurements (Walters RG and Horton P 1991). Analysis of the behaviour of chlorophyll fluorescence parameters and oxygen evolution at low light (when only state transitions — measured as qNt — are present) and at high light (when only photoinhibition — measured as qNi — is increasing) showed that the parameter qNt represents quenching processes located in the antenna and that qNi measures quenching processes located in the reaction centre but which operate significantly only when those centres are closed. The theoretical predictions of a variety of models describing possible mechanisms for high-energy-state quenching, measured as the residual quenching, qNe, were then tested against the experimental data for both fluorescence quenching and quantum yield of oxygen evolution. Only one model was found to agree with these data, one in which antennae exist in two states, efficient in either energy transfer or energy dissipation, and in which those photosynthetic units in a dissipative state are unable to exchange energy with non-dissipative units.

Key words

energy dissipation photoinhibition photosynthesis Photosystem II quantum yield state transition 


Fo, Fm

room-temperature chlorophyll fluorescence yield with all centres open, closed


variable fluorescence yield


light-harvesting chlorophyll-protein complex of PS II


Photosystem I, II

P700, P680

primary donor in Photosystem I, II


primary electron acceptor of PS II


maximum quantum yield of oxygen evolution


coefficient of non-photochemical quenching of variable fluorescence

qNe, qNt, qNi

coefficient of non-photochemical quenching due to high-energy-state, state transition, photoinhibition


coefficient of quenching of dark level fluorescence


coefficient of photochemical quenching of variable fluorescence


‘intrinsic’ quantum yield of open PS II reaction centres = Φs/qP


quantum yield of PS = qP × Fv/Fm


quantum yield of oxygen evolution = rate of oxygen evolution/light intensity


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin G. Walters
    • 1
  • Peter Horton
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Hill Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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