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Assessment of photosynthetic potential of indoor plants under cold stress


Photosynthetic parameters including net photosynthetic rate (P N), transpiration rate (E), water-use efficiency (WUE), and stomatal conductance (g s) were studied in indoor C3 plants Philodendron domesticum (Pd), Dracaena fragans (Df), Peperomia obtussifolia (Po), Chlorophytum comosum (Cc), and in a CAM plant, Sansevieria trifasciata (St), exposed to various low temperatures (0, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25°C). All studied plants survived up to 0°C, but only St and Cc endured, while other plants wilted, when the temperature increased back to room temperature (25°C). The P N declined rapidly with the decrease of temperature in all studied plants. St showed the maximum P N of 11.9 μmol m−2 s−1 at 25°C followed by Cc, Po, Pd, and Df. E also followed a trend almost similar to that of P N. St showed minimum E (0.1 mmol m−2 s−1) as compared to other studied C3 plants at 25°C. The E decreased up to ≈4-fold at 5 and 0°C. Furthermore, a considerable decline in WUE was observed under cold stress in all C3 plants, while St showed maximum WUE. Similarly, the g s also declined gradually with the decrease in the temperature in all plants. Among C3 plants, Pd and Po showed the maximum g s of 0.07 mol m−2 s−1 at 25°C followed by Df and Cc. However, St showed the minimum g s that further decreased up to ∼4-fold at 0°C. In addition, the content of photosynthetic pigments [chlorophyll a, b, (a+b), and carotenoids] was varying in all studied plants at 0°C. Our findings clearly indicated the best photosynthetic potential of St compared to other studied plants. This species might be recommended for improving air quality in high-altitude closed environments.

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analysis of variance



Cc :

Chlorophytum comosum



Df :

Dracaena fragans


N,N-dimethyl formamide

E :

transpiration rate


fresh mass

g s :

stomatal conductance


least significant difference

Pd :

Philodendron domesticum

P N :

net photosynthetic rate

Po :

Peperomia obtussifolia

St :

Sansevieria trifasciata


water-use efficiency


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Correspondence to S. M. Gupta.

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Acknowledgments: Authors thank to the Director DIPAS for providing research guidance under DHRUV project. Financial assistance received by K. Kumar and B. Dev from Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India is also duly acknowledged. First two authors contributed equally.

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Gupta, S.M., Agarwal, A., Dev, B. et al. Assessment of photosynthetic potential of indoor plants under cold stress. Photosynthetica 54, 138–142 (2016).

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