Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 136, Issue 2, pp 245–255 | Cite as

Wheat plant selection for high yields entailed improvement of leaf anatomical and biochemical traits including tolerance to non-optimal temperature conditions

  • Marian Brestic
  • Marek Zivcak
  • Pavol Hauptvogel
  • Svetlana Misheva
  • Konstantina Kocheva
  • Xinghong Yang
  • Xiangnan Li
  • Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev
Original Article


Assessment of photosynthetic traits and temperature tolerance was performed on field-grown modern genotype (MG), and the local landrace (LR) of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) as well as the wild relative species (Aegilops cylindrica Host.). The comparison was based on measurements of the gas exchange (A/ci, light and temperature response curves), slow and fast chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics, and some growth and leaf parameters. In MG, we observed the highest CO2 assimilation rate \(\left( {{A_{{\text{C}}{{\text{O}}_2}}}} \right),\) electron transport rate (Jmax) and maximum carboxylation rate \(\left( {{V_{{{\text{C}}_{\hbox{max} }}}}} \right)\). The Aegilops leaves had substantially lower values of all photosynthetic parameters; this fact correlated with its lower biomass production. The mesophyll conductance was almost the same in Aegilops and MG, despite the significant differences in leaf phenotype. In contrary, in LR with a higher dry mass per leaf area, the half mesophyll conductance (gm) values indicated more limited CO2 diffusion. In Aegilops, we found much lower carboxylation capacity; this can be attributed mainly to thin leaves and lower Rubisco activity. The difference in CO2 assimilation rate between MG and others was diminished because of its higher mitochondrial respiration activity indicating more intense metabolism. Assessment of temperature response showed lower temperature optimum and a narrow ecological valence (i.e., the range determining the tolerance limits of a species to an environmental factor) in Aegilops. In addition, analysis of photosynthetic thermostability identified the LR as the most sensitive. Our results support the idea that the selection for high yields was accompanied by the increase of photosynthetic productivity through unintentional improvement of leaf anatomical and biochemical traits including tolerance to non-optimal temperature conditions.


Wheat Landrace Aegilops Photosynthesis Mesophyll conductance Heat stress 



CO2 assimilation rate


Reference CO2 concentration


Intercellular CO2 concentration


Basal fluorescence


Maximum quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry


Mesophyll conductance


Electron transport rate


Dry mass per leaf area


Local landrace


Modern genotype


Photosynthetic photon flux density


Photosystem II


Relative air humidity

\(\left( {{V_{{{\text{C}}_{\hbox{max} }}}}} \right)\)

Maximum carboxylation rate


Vapor pressure deficit


Wild relative



This work was supported by the projects VEGA-1-0923-16, VEGA-1/0831/17, APVV-15-0721, APVV SK-BG-2013-0029, and APVV SK-CN-2015-0005, and by the Grants from Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Nos: 17-04-01289; 17-54-7819), and by Molecular and Cell Biology Programs from Russian Academy of Sciences.

Author contributions

MZ, MB, and SIA wrote the paper. MZ conducted the statistical analyses and analyses of photosynthetic parameters. PH provided unique biological material and led the field experiments. SM, KK, XY, and XL contributed to experimental design and interpretation of results, and helped to draft the manuscript. Neither the manuscript nor any part of its content has been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian Brestic
    • 1
  • Marek Zivcak
    • 1
  • Pavol Hauptvogel
    • 2
  • Svetlana Misheva
    • 3
  • Konstantina Kocheva
    • 3
  • Xinghong Yang
    • 4
  • Xiangnan Li
    • 5
  • Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  1. 1.Department of Plant PhysiologySlovak Agricultural UniversityNitraSlovakia
  2. 2.National Agricultural and Food CentreResearch Institute of Plant ProductionPiešťanySlovakia
  3. 3.Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Shandong Key Laboratory of Crop BiologyShandong Agricultural UniversityTai’anChina
  5. 5.Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunChina
  6. 6.Institute of Plant PhysiologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  7. 7.Institute of Basic Biological ProblemsRussian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  8. 8.Department of Plant Physiology, Faculty of BiologyM.V. Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  9. 9.Moscow Institute of Physics and TechnologyDolgoprudnyRussia
  10. 10.Institute of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyAzerbaijan National Academy of SciencesBakuAzerbaijan

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