, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 28–39 | Cite as

Effects of different levels of water stress on leaf photosynthetic characteristics and antioxidant enzyme activities of greenhouse tomato

  • X. K. Yuan
  • Z. Q. Yang
  • Y. X. Li
  • Q. Liu
  • W. Han
Original Papers


Two greenhouse experiments were conducted in order to investigate the effects of different levels of water stress on gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, chlorophyll content, antioxidant enzyme activities, lipid peroxidation, and yield of tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Jinfen 2). Four levels of soil water content were used: control (75 to 80% of field water capacity), mild water stress (55 to 60%), moderate water stress (45 to 50%), and severe water stress (35 to 40%). The controlled irrigation was initiated from the third leaf stage until maturity. The results of two-year trials indicated that the stomatal conductance, net photosynthetic rate, light-saturated photosynthetic rate, and saturation radiation decreased generally under all levels of water stress during all developmental stages, while compensation radiation and dark respiration rate increased generally. Water stress also declined maximum quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, electron transfer rate, and effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, while nonphotochemical quenching increased in all developmental stages. All levels of water stress also caused a marked reduction of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and total chlorophyll content in all developmental stages, while activities of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and catalase, and lipid peroxidation increased.

Additional key words

drought stress malondialdehyde nonstomatal limitation PN/PPFD response curve stomatal limitation 



ambient CO2 concentration


intercellular CO2 concentration








electron flow rate


maximum quantum yield of PSII photochemistry


stomatal conductance


compensation irradiance


saturation irradiance


curve convexity


stomatal limitation value


mild water stress


moderate water stress




nonphotochemical quenching


light-saturated photosynthetic rate


net photosynthetic rate




dark respiration rate


reactive oxygen species


severe water stress


superoxide dismutase


apparent photosynthetic quantum yield


effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. K. Yuan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Z. Q. Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y. X. Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Q. Liu
    • 2
  • W. Han
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Applied MeteorologyNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Agricultural MeteorologyNanjing University of Information Science &TechnologyNanjingChina

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