Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 17, pp 13083–13093 | Cite as

Ecophysiological and antioxidant traits of Salvia officinalis under ozone stress

  • Elisa Pellegrini
  • Alessandra Francini
  • Giacomo Lorenzini
  • Cristina Nali
Research Article


Ecophysiological and antioxidant traits were evaluated in sage (Salvia officinalis) plants exposed to 120 ppb of ozone for 90 consecutive days (5 h day−1). At the end of fumigation, plants showed slight leaf yellowing that could be considered the first visual symptom of leaf senescence. Ozone-stressed leaves showed (1) reduced photosynthetic activity (−70 % at the end of exposure), (2) chlorophyll loss (−59 and −56 % of chlorophyll a and b concentrations, starting from 30 days from the beginning of exposure), and (3) cellular water deficit (−12 % of the relative water content at the end of the fumigation). These phenomena are indicative of oxidative stress in the chloroplasts (as confirmed by the strong degradation of β-carotene) despite the photoprotection conferred by xanthophyll cycle [as demonstrated by the significant rise of de-epoxidation index, reaching the maximum value at the end of the treatment (+69 %)], antioxidant compounds [as confirmed by the increase of phenols (in particular caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid)], and water-soluble carbohydrates (especially monosaccharides). By means of combined ecophysiological and biochemical approaches, this study demonstrates that S. officinalis is able to activate an adaptive survival mechanism allowing the plant to complete its life cycle even under oxidative stressful conditions.


Carbohydrates Carotenoids Medicinal plants Oxidative stress Phenolic acids Xanthophyll cycle 



Fraction of absorbed light that was thermally dissipated in PSII antennae


Actual quantum yield of PSII


Photosynthetic activity


Analysis of variance

A + V

Anteraxanthin + violaxanthin


Cumulative exposure to O3


Intercellular CO2 concentration




Cumulative O3 Uptakes


De-epoxidation index value


Minimal fluorescence


Minimal fluorescence in the light-adapted state


From the beginning of exposure


Maximal fluorescence


Maximal fluorescence in the light-adapted state


Steady-state fluorescence yield in the light-adapted state


Fresh weight


Stomatal conductance to water vapor


Light harvesting complex




Photon flux density


Photosystem I


Photosystem II


No photochemical quenching


Photochemical quenching


Reactive oxygen species


Relative water content


Intrinsic water use efficiency


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisa Pellegrini
    • 1
  • Alessandra Francini
    • 1
  • Giacomo Lorenzini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cristina Nali
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Interdepartmental Research Center NutrafoodUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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