, Volume 88, Issue 1, pp 35–45

Heat tolerance in food legumes as evaluated by cell membrane thermostability and chlorophyll fluorescence techniques

  • Ancha Srinivasan
  • Hiroyuki Takeda
  • Toshihiro Senboku


The genotypic variation for heat tolerance in chickpea, groundnut, pigeonpea, and soya bean was evaluated by testing membrane stability and photosystem (PSII) function in leaves at high temperatures. The legumes could be ranked from heat-tolerant to sensitive in the order: groundnut, soya bean, pigeonpea and chickpea. The damage to cell membranes (as reflected by an increased leakage of electrolytes) and PS II (as reflected by a decrease in the ratio of variable to maximum fluorescence) was less, and recovery from heat stress was faster in groundnut than in other crops. Prior exposure of plants to 35°C for 24h led to a reduced leakage of electrolytes at high temperatures in all crops but the differences among legumes were consistent. Substantial genotypic variation for heat tolerance was found in all legumes. Membrane injury was negatively associated with specific leaf weight in groundnut (r=−0.69**) and soya bean (r=−0.56**) but not in the pulses. Electrolyte leakage and fluorescence ratio were negatively correlated in all legumes. The potential use of electrolyte leakage and fluorescence tests as screening procedures for breeding heat-tolerant legumes is discussed.

Key words

Chickpea chlorophyll fluorescence groundnut heat tolerance membrane stability photosystem pigeonpea screening methods soya bean thermostability Cicer arietinum Glycine max Arachis hypogaea Cajanus cajan 



relative injury


initial fluorescence


maximum fluorescence


variable fluorescence


photosystem II


photosynthetically active radiation


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ancha Srinivasan
    • 1
  • Hiroyuki Takeda
    • 1
  • Toshihiro Senboku
    • 1
  1. 1.Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Okinawa Subtropical StationInternational Collaboration Research SectionIshigaki, OkinawaJapan

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