Photosynthesis pp 445-474 | Cite as


  • Prafullachandra Vishnu Sane
  • Alexander G. Ivanov
  • Gunnar Öquist
  • Norman P. A. Hüner
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 34)


Thermoluminescence (TL) of photosynthetic membranes was discovered by William Arnold and Helen Sherwood in 1957. In the last half century, several studies have elucidated the mechanism of TL emission, which showed that the recombination of different charge pairs generated and trapped during pre-illumination are responsible for the observed light emission. Since most of the TL bands originate within Photosystem II (PS II), the technique of TL has become a useful complementary tool to chlorophyll a fluorescence to probe subtle changes in PS II photochemistry. The technique is simple and non-invasive; it has been successfully used to study leaf, cells, thylakoids and even reaction center preparations. The TL technique provides quick information about the redox potential changes of the bound primary quinone (QA) and the secondary quinone (QB) acceptors of PS II; TL has been extensively used to study the effects of photoinhibition, mutations, stresses and myriad responses of the photosynthetic apparatus during acclimation and adaptation. This chapter reviews crucial evidence for the identification of charge pairs responsible for the generation of different TL bands; the relationship of these bands to the components of delayed light emission; responses to excitation pressure arising out of environmental factors; methodology, and instrumentation. A model based on the detailed analysis of the redox shifts of the PS II electron acceptors QA and QB, explaining the possibility of non-radiative dissipation of excess light energy within the reaction center of PS II (reaction center quenching) and its physiological significance in photo-protection of the photosynthetic membranes has been suggested. Developments in the analysis of biophysical parameters and the non-adherence of photosynthetic TL to the analysis by the 1945 theory of J.T. Randall and M.H.F. Wilkins have been briefly reviewed.


Glow Curve Ethylene Glycol Tetraacetic Acid Cyclic Electron Flow Glow Peak Charge Pair 
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.



Adenosine triphosphate;


Crassulacean acid metabolism;

Cyt b559

Cytochrome b 559;

D1 –

32 kDa Photosystem II reaction center polypeptide;

D2 –

34 kDa Photosystem II reaction center polypeptide;




Dihydroxyacetone phosphate;


Ethyleneglycol bis (beta-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N’,N’-tetra acetic acid;


Delayed light emission;


Electron paramagnetic resonance;


Light-harvesting complex of Photosystem II;




Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, the reduced form;

P680 –

Primary electron donor chlorophyll of Photosystem II;



Pheo –


PS I –

Photosystem I;


Photosystem II;

PQ –


QA –

Primary electron-accepting quinone in Photosystem II reaction centers;

QB –

Secondary electron-accepting quinone in Photosystem II reaction centers;


states – Oxidation states of the manganese cluster of PS II;

TL –


TM –

Temperature of maximum thermoluminescence emission;

Tris –


Y D+

Redox active tyrosine-160 of the D2 protein;

Y Z+

Redox active tyrosine-161 of the D1 protein



This work was financially supported by grants from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), the Swedish National Science Research Council and the National Science and Enginee­ring Research Council of Canada. We recognize Govindjee for his pioneering research on thermoluminescence, and we thank him for reading this chapter, and for his suggestions to improve this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prafullachandra Vishnu Sane
    • 1
  • Alexander G. Ivanov
    • 2
  • Gunnar Öquist
    • 3
  • Norman P. A. Hüner
    • 2
  1. 1.Jain Irrigation Systems LimitedJalgaonIndia
  2. 2.Department of Biology and The Biotron, Experimental Climate Change Research CentreUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  3. 3.Umeå Plant Science Center, Department of Plant PhysiologyUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden

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