, 228:745 | Cite as

Effects of high temperature coupled with high light on the balance between photooxidation and photoprotection in the sun-exposed peel of apple

  • Li-Song Chen
  • Pengmin Li
  • Lailiang ChengEmail author
Original Article


The sun-exposed peel of ‘Gala’ apple with or without sunburn was compared in terms of photooxidation and photoprotection, and a controlled experiment was conducted to probe the initial responses of PSII to high light and high temperature. The content of carotenoids, lutein and xanthophylls on a chlorophyll basis was higher in the sunburned peel although they were lower expressed on a peel area basis. Significant loss of β-carotene and neoxanthin was observed relative to chlorophylls in the sunburned peel. O2 evolution rates and the activity of key enzymes in the Calvin cycle were lower in the sunburned peel, but the activity of these enzymes decreased to a lesser extent than the O2 evolution rates. The activity of antioxidant enzymes in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle and the level of total ascorbate, total glutathione, and reduced glutathione were higher in the sunburned peel. However, the sunburned peel had higher H2O2 and malondialdehyde contents. Fruit peels treated with high temperature (45°C) alone showed a clear “K” step in their chlorophyll fluorescence transients whereas high temperature coupled with high light (1,600 μmol m−2 s−1) led to the disappearance of the “K” step and a further decrease in F V/F M (similar to what was observed in the sunburned peel). We conclude that high temperature coupled with high light damages the PSII complexes at both the donor and acceptor sides. Although both the xanthophyll cycle and the antioxidant system are up-regulated in response to the photooxidative stress, this up-regulation does not provide enough protection against the photooxidation.


Antioxidant system Apple Chlorophyll a fluorescence transient Malus Photoinhibition Sunburn Sun-exposed peel 





Ascorbate peroxidase






Oxidized ascorbate


Dehydroascorbate reductase


Stromal fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase


Photon flux density


Minimum and maximum fluorescence


Maximum quantum yield of PSII


Guaiacol peroxidase


Glutathione reductase


Reduced glutathione


Oxidized glutathione




Monodehydroascorbate reductase


NADP-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase


Oxygen evolving complex


Photosystem II


Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


Superoxide dismutase




3-phosphoglycerate kinase


Superoxide dismutase







This work was supported in part by Washington tree Fruit Research Commission. We thank Dr. David Felicetti and Dr. Larry Schrader at the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center of Washington State University for their help in monitoring peel temperatures and collecting fruit samples, and Richard Raba for technical assistance. We also thank Dr. Huiyuan Gao at Shandong Agricultural University for helpful discussions on chlorophyll a fluorescence transients.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HorticultureCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of HorticultureFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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