, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 517–526 | Cite as

Effects of salt stress on photosynthesis, PSII photochemistry and thermal energy dissipation in leaves of two corn (Zea mays L.) varieties

  • H. HichemEmail author
  • A. El Naceur
  • D. Mounir
Original Papers


The effect of four different NaCl concentrations (from 0 to 102 mM NaCl) on seedlings leaves of two corn (Zea mays L.) varieties (Aristo and Arper) was investigated through chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence parameters, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, photosynthetic pigments concentration, tissue hydration and ionic accumulation. Salinity treatments showed a decrease in maximal efficiency of PSII photochemistry (Fv/Fm) in dark-adapted leaves. Moreover, the actual PSII efficiency (ϕPSII), photochemical quenching coefficient (qp), proportion of PSII centers effectively reoxidized, and the fraction of light used in PSII photochemistry (%P) were also dropped with increasing salinity in light-adapted leaves. Reductions in these parameters were greater in Aristo than in Arper. The tissue hydration decreased in salt-treated leaves as did the photosynthesis, stomatal conductance (g s) and photosynthetic pigments concentration essentially at 68 and 102 mM NaCl. In both varieties the reduction of photosynthesis was mainly due to stomatal closure and partially to PSII photoinhibition. The differences between the two varieties indicate that Aristo was more susceptible to salt-stress damage than Arper which revealed a moderate regulation of the leaf ionic accumulation.

Additional key words

chlorophyll fluorescence photosynthesis ion accumulation salinity Zea mays L. 



net assimilation rate



Chl a

chlorophyll a

Chl b

chlorophyll b


dry mass


maximal fluorescence of dark-adapted state


maximal fluorescence of light-adapted state


proportion of PSII centers effectively re-oxidized


minimal fluorescence of dark-adapted state


minimal fluorescence of light-adapted state


steady-state fluorescence of light-adapted leaves


variable fluorescence


maximal efficiency of PSII


stomatal conductance


leaf water content


non-photochemical quenching

(1 − qp)/NPQ

susceptibility of PSII to high irradiance


photosystem II


primary quinone acceptor of PSII


photochemical quenching


thermal energy dissipation


fraction of energy allocated to PSII photochemistry


excess of energy excitation


actual PSII efficiency


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut National de Recherche en Génie RuralEaux et Forêts (INRGREF): Unité d’Expérimentations Agricoles, Oued SouhailNabeulTunisia
  2. 2.Institut Supérieur de Biotechnologie de MonastirMonastirTunisia
  3. 3.Institut Supérieur Agronomique de Chott-MariemSousseTunisia

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