Thermal Energy Dissipation in Plants Under Unfavorable Soil Conditions

  • Fermín Morales
  • Javier Abadía
  • Anunciación Abadía
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 40)


Unfavorable soil conditions in crops and natural habitats include limited availability of water and nutrients, presence of salts, as well as an excess of essential nutrients and heavy metals. When plants are exposed to such stresses, rates of photosynthetic carbon fixation decrease for a variety of reasons, while plants continue gathering sunlight. As a consequence of the resulting imbalance between light absorption and energy utilization, plants experience what the research community has termed photoinhibition, which is considered to be a reflection of either photoprotection mechanisms or photodamage. Data reported to date suggest that under unfavorable soil conditions, photoprotection mechanisms are far more important than photodamage. Plants under stress generally dissipate thermally, i.e., as heat, a large part of the light absorbed by photosystem II in a process mediated by ∆pH, xanthophyll pigments (particularly zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin), and the photosystem II subunit S (PsbS) protein. Changes in thermal energy dissipation under unfavorable soil conditions are summarized here. Very high levels of thermal energy dissipation are frequently, but not always, accompanied by decreases in leaf chlorophyll concentration, such as those found under N and Fe deficiency, excess Al, or water stress in some species. The mechanisms of photoprotection remain largely unexplored for some of the stress situations reported here. In this chapter, we review changes in thermal energy dissipation in response to water stress, salinity, macronutrient (N, P, and K) deficiencies, micronutrient (Fe, Mn, Cu, and Zn) deficiencies and toxicities, and other metal (Cd, Pb, Al, and Hg) toxicities.


Sugar Beet Electron Transport Rate Thermal Dissipation Sugar Beet Plant Highbush Blueberry 
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.


A –


Chl –


D –

Fraction of light absorbed by PS II that is dissipated thermally in the antenna, e.g., as 1 − Φ exc. = 1 − (F v /F m );


Electron transport rate;


Non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence;

P –

Fraction of light absorbed by PS II that is used in photochemistry;

Pc –

Fraction of P that Rubisco uses for RuBP carboxylation;

Po –

Fraction of P that Rubisco uses for RuBP oxygenation;


Photosynthetic photon flux density;

PS I –

Photosystem I;


Photosystem II;

Rubisco –

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase;

RuBP –

Ribulose bisphosphate;

V –


VAZ cycle –

The xanthophyll cycle involving the carotenoids violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, and zeaxanthin;

X –

Fraction of light absorbed by PS II that is neither used nor dissipated;

Z –




This work was supported by Spanish grants AGL2009-09018 to AA and AGL2010-16515 to JA, and Aragón Government (A03 research group).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fermín Morales
    • 1
  • Javier Abadía
    • 1
  • Anunciación Abadía
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant NutritionAula Dei Experimental Station-CSICZaragozaSpain

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