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Trees

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 339–343 | Cite as

Photoprotection mechanisms in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) seedlings from diverse climatic origins

  • J. I. García-Plazaola
  • José M. Becerril
Original Article

Abstract 

This study shows that beech leaves adapt to their light environment by inducing dramatic changes to antioxidant systems and pigment composition. Thus, ascorbate, tocopherol, glutathione, β-carotene and xanthophyll cycle pigments are much more concentrated in sun leaves, while α-carotene is much less concentrated than in shade leaves. These characteristics were used to identify the inherent potential of beech cotyledons from three contrasting climatic origins to tolerate light stress. The antioxidant content was initially different in the three provenances tested, but these initial differences tended to reduce with leaf ageing. The higher antioxidant and de-epoxidized xanthophyll content found in developing cotyledons indicated a superior potential for tolerance to photo-oxidative damage in those plants collected from the stressful climate of the Pyrenees. Nevertheless under an experimental high irradiation treatment no differences in light stress tolerance were observed between provenances.

Key words Antioxidants Beech Carotenoids Stress tolerance 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. I. García-Plazaola
    • 1
  • José M. Becerril
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, Universidad del País Vasco-EHU, Apdo 644, E-48080 Bilbao, Spain e-mail: gvpgaplj@lg.ehu.es Fax: +34-944648500ES

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