Photosynthesis and Antioxidative Protection in Alpine Herbs

  • Peter StrebEmail author
  • Gabriel Cornic


Alpine environments are found all over the world, from the south over the tropics to the north. Alpine herbs are defined here as higher plant species growing above the tree line up to and within the persisting snow line (nival life zone). The altitude of their occurrence varies strongly from around sea level in the far north and south to elevations above 4,000–5,000 m.a.s.l. in Africa and the Himalaya (Körner 2003). In the European Alps the alpine life zone starts at approximately 2,000 m elevation, depending on local microclimatic conditions. The mean annual air temperature in the Alps at this elevation is approximately 0°C (Friend and Woodward 1990) and on average the vegetation period is limited to 5 months per year.


Electron Transport Rate Carbon Assimilation Xanthophyll Cycle Alpine Plant Cyclic Electron Transport 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Ascorbate peroxidase


Concentration of CO2 outside the leaf


Concentration of CO2 at the chloroplast level


Concentration of CO2 inside the leaf






Conductance for CO2


Light harvesting complex


Meter above sea level


Non-photochemical fluorescence quenching (for details see Maxwell and Johnson 2000)


Photon flux density




Plastid terminal oxidase


Photochemical fluorescence quenching


Reactive oxygen species


Specificity factor of Rubisco for CO2 relative to O2


Superoxide dismutase



We are grateful to Prof Dr. J. Feierabend for critical reading of the manuscript. We acknowledge the Station Alpine du Lautaret for their work facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Ecologie Systématique et EvolutionUniversity of Paris-SudOrsayFrance
  2. 2.CNRSOrsayFrance
  3. 3.AgroParisTechParisFrance

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