Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 129, Issue 2, pp 217–225 | Cite as

Chloroplast avoidance movement as a sensitive indicator of relative water content during leaf desiccation in the dark

  • Jan Nauš
  • Slavomír Šmecko
  • Martina ŠpundováEmail author
Technical Communication


In the context of global climate change, drought is one of the major stress factors with negative effect on photosynthesis and plant productivity. Currently, chlorophyll fluorescence parameters are widely used as indicators of plant stress, mainly owing to the rapid, non-destructive and simple measurements this technique allows. However, these parameters have been shown to have limited sensitivity for the monitoring of water deficit as leaf desiccation has relatively small effect on photosystem II photochemistry. In this study, we found that blue light-induced increase in leaf transmittance reflecting chloroplast avoidance movement was much more sensitive to a decrease in relative water content (RWC) than chlorophyll fluorescence parameters in dark-desiccating leaves of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Whereas the inhibition of chloroplast avoidance movement was detectable in leaves even with a small RWC decrease, the chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (F V/F M, V J, Ф PSII, NPQ) changed markedly only when RWC dropped below 70 %. For this reason, we propose light-induced chloroplast avoidance movement as a sensitive indicator of the decrease in leaf RWC. As our measurement of chloroplast movement using collimated transmittance is simple and non-destructive, it may be more suitable in some cases for the detection of plant stresses including water deficit than the conventionally used chlorophyll fluorescence methods.


Chlorophyll fluorescence Chloroplast avoidance movement Desiccation Relative water content Transmittance 





Maximum quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry


Non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching


Photosynthetically active radiation


Photosystem II


Relative water content


Relative increase of collimated transmittance reflecting chloroplast avoidance movement induced by blue light


The RI values normalized to the values of fresh control leaves


Maximal slope of the linear part of the normalized T C(t) curve


The S values normalized to the values of fresh control leaves


Collimated transmittance


Relative height of the J-step in O-J-I-P transient


Effective quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry



This work was supported by Grant No. LO1204 (Sustainable Development of Research in the Centre of the Region Haná) from the National Program of Sustainability I, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic. The authors thank Iva Ilíková and Alex Outlon for critical reading and language correction of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Nauš
    • 1
  • Slavomír Šmecko
    • 1
  • Martina Špundová
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biophysics, Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of SciencePalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic

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