Photosynthesis and photoprotection under drought in the annual desert plant Anastatica hierochuntica
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Anastatica hierochuntica is an annual desert plant, which was recently shown to have unusually low nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) and a high PSII electron transport rate (ETR). In the current study, we examined how these unusual characteristics are related to a lack of CO2 and inhibition of net photosynthetic rate (PN). We compared the photosynthetic and photoprotective response of A. hierochuntica and sunflower (Helianthus annuus), under conditions of photosynthetic inhibition, with either low CO2 or drought. We found that under nonsteady state conditions of low CO2 availability, A. hierochuntica exhibited about half of the NPQ values and almost twice of the ETR values of H. annuus. However, the long-term inhibition of PN under drought caused a similar increase in NPQ and a decrease in ETR in both A. hierochuntica and H. annuus. These results suggest that the unusually low NPQ and high ETR in A. hierochuntica are not directly related to a response to drought conditions.
Additional key wordsabiotic stress relative water content stomatal conductance
photosystem II electron transport rate
infrared gas analyzer
leaf relative water content
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