Non-Photochemical Quenching and Energy Dissipation in Plants, Algae and Cyanobacteria

Volume 40 of the series Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration pp 333-342


Are Chlorophyll-Carotenoid Interactions Responsible for Rapidly Reversible Non-Photochemical Fluorescence Quenching?

  • Herbert van AmerongenAffiliated withLaboratory of Biophysics, Wageningen University Email author 

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Photoprotective thermal energy dissipation (as assessed via non-photochemical quenching of singlet-excited chlorophyll a, NPQ) in plants is driven by various mechanisms occurring over different time scales. The rapid and reversible part of NPQ, also called qE (for energy-dependent quenching), was demonstrated to correlate with the twisting of a neoxanthin molecule in the light-harvesting antenna as observed by resonance Raman spectroscopy (Nature 450: 575–578, 2007). Interestingly, the extent of fluorescence quenching correlates with the change in Raman signal in different situations: during NPQ in vivo, during fluorescence quenching upon aggregation of LHCII (the major light-harvesting complex in plants), and in crystals of LHCII. In the same study, it was proposed that the quenching is caused by excitation energy transfer from chlorophyll a to lutein in LHCII after a structural change that correlates with the twisting of the neoxanthin. However, this view has been challenged by others for different reasons. Here we discuss the arguments in favor and against this mechanism. A short overview is given of the spectroscopic data on chlorophyll-carotenoid interactions in plant light-harvesting systems, the changes in interactions upon aggregation or crystallization, and the possible relationship to the mechanism of NPQ.