Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 181–190 | Cite as

Spectroscopy of non-photochemical and photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence in leaves; evidence for a role of the light harvesting complex of Photosystem II in the regulation of energy dissipation

  • Alexander V. Ruban
  • Peter Horton
Regular Paper


Dissipation of absorbed excitation energy as heat, measured by its effect on the quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence, is induced under conditions of excess light in order to protect the photosynthetic apparatus of plants from light-dependent damage. The spectral characteristics of this quenching have been compared to that due to photochemistry in the Photosystem II reaction centre using leaves of Guzmania monostachia. This was achieved by making measurements at 77K when fluorescence emission bands from each type of chlorophyll protein complex can be distinguished. It was demonstrated that photochemistry and non-photochemical dissipation preferentially quench different emission bands and therefore occur by dissimilar mechanisms at separate sites. It was found that photochemistry was associated with a preferential quenching of emission at 688 nm whereas the spectrum for rapidly reversible non-photochemical quenching had maxima at 683 nm and 698 nm, suggesting selective quenching of the bands originating from the light harvesting complexes of Photosystem II. Further evidence that this was occurring in the light harvesting system was obtained from the fluorescence excitation spectra recorded in the quenched and relaxed states.

Key words

fluorescence quenching leaf light-harvesting complex low-temperature spectroscopy 



transthylakoid pH gradient


minimum level of chlorophyll fluorescence when Photosystem II reaction centres are open


maximum level of fluorescence when Photosystem II reaction centres are closed


variable fluorescence Fmminus Fo


Fo in any quenched state


Fm in any quenched state


light harvesting complexes of Photosystem II


Photosystem I


Photosystem II


non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence


non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence that occurs in the presence of a ‡pH


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander V. Ruban
    • 1
  • Peter Horton
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Hill Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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