Photosynthesis Research

, 94:347 | Cite as

Quantification of cyclic electron flow around Photosystem I in spinach leaves during photosynthetic induction

  • Da-Yong Fan
  • Qin Nie
  • Alexander B. Hope
  • Warwick Hillier
  • Barry J. Pogson
  • Wah Soon ChowEmail author
Regular Paper


The variation of the rate of cyclic electron transport around Photosystem I (PS I) during photosynthetic induction was investigated by illuminating dark-adapted spinach leaf discs with red + far-red actinic light for a varied duration, followed by abruptly turning off the light. The post-illumination re-reduction kinetics of P700+, the oxidized form of the photoactive chlorophyll of the reaction centre of PS I (normalized to the total P700 content), was well described by the sum of three negative exponential terms. The analysis gave a light-induced total electron flux from which the linear electron flux through PS II and PS I could be subtracted, yielding a cyclic electron flux. Our results show that the cyclic electron flux was small in the very early phase of photosynthetic induction, rose to a maximum at about 30 s of illumination, and declined subsequently to <10% of the total electron flux in the steady state. Further, this cyclic electron flow, largely responsible for the fast and intermediate exponential decays, was sensitive to 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethyl urea, suggesting an important role of redox poising of the cyclic components for optimal function. Significantly, our results demonstrate that analysis of the post-illumination re-reduction kinetics of P700+ allows the quantification of the cyclic electron flux in intact leaves by a relatively straightforward method.


Cyclic electron transport P700 Photosynthetic induction Photosystem I 



Adenosine triphosphate




3-(3,4-Dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethyl urea



Fv′ and Fm

Variable and maximum Chl fluorescence during illumination


Methyl viologen


Oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate


Photoactive Chl of the reaction centre of PS I

PS I and PS II

Photosystem I and II, respectively





DF is supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 90302004) and Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCX2-SW-109). Partial financial support of this project from an ARC grant DP 0665363 to BJP and WSC is gratefully acknowledged. ABH is grateful for a Visiting Fellowship from RSBS, ANU. We thank Jan Anderson and Tom Wydrzynski for constructive comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Da-Yong Fan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qin Nie
    • 2
  • Alexander B. Hope
    • 3
  • Warwick Hillier
    • 2
  • Barry J. Pogson
    • 4
  • Wah Soon Chow
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of BotanyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Photobioenergetics Group, Research School of Biological SciencesThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.School of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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