Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 121–133 | Cite as

Resolution of components of non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching in barley leaves

  • Robin G. Walters
  • Peter Horton
Regular Papers


Non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching (qN) in barley leaves has been analysed by monitoring its relaxation in the dark, by applying saturating pulses of light. At least three kinetically distinct phases to qN recovery are observed, which have previously been identified (Quick and Stitt 1989) as being due to high-energy state quenching (‘fast’), excitation energy redistribution due to a state transition (‘medium’) and photoinhibition (‘slow’). However, measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence at 77 K from leaf extracts show that state transitions only occur in low light conditions, whereas the ‘medium’ component of qN is very large in high light. The source of that part of the ‘medium’ component not accounted for by a state transition is discussed.

Key words

high-energy state quenching photoinhibition photosynthesis state transition 77 K fluorescence 



adenosine 5′-triphosphate


3[3,4-dichlorophenyl]-1,1 dimethylurea


trans-thylakoid pH gradient

Fo, Fm

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


variable fluorescence = Fm−Fo


Light harvesting complex II


Photosystem I, II

P700, P680

primary donor in photosystem I, II


photochemical quenching of variable fluorescence


non-photochemical quenching of variable fluorescence

qNe, qNt, qNi

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

qNf, qNm, qNs

components of qN relaxing fast, medium, slow


quenching of r relative to the dark state




ratio of fluorescence maximum from photosystem II to that from photosystem I at 77 K


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

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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