Building a better fluorescence estimation of electron transport in plants
In a letter published in the journal New Phytologist, researchers suggest a correction for fluorescent measurements of electron transport.
A correction for non-photosynthetic absorption of light in calculations of electron transport.
Significance and Impact
Fluorescence measurements of electron transport help determine crop productivity. This correction addresses overestimations of photosynthetic quantum yield that distort the calculation. This correction is important for models of carbon assimilation, CO2 diffusivity through the leaf, and nitrogen assimilation, indicators of photosynthetic productivity and crop yield.
- There is variation in quantum yield of carbon by wavelength, described by an action spectrum. The action spectrum by McCree (1970) was used as justification for eliminating far-red and ultraviolet light as photosynthetically active – the plant absorbs somewhat at these wavelengths, but it does not drive photosynthesis.
- Plants absorb more blue light than red light, but blue light is less effective at driving photosynthesis due in part to absorption by non-photosynthetic pigments.
- Correcting fluorescent measurements of electron transport (JF) for this discrepancy (see figure) improves linearity between JF and the calculated electron usage for carbon metabolism (JC).
- Action-corrected data will be important for methods requiring accurate electron transport measurements, including estimations of mesophyll conductance and nitrogen assimilation.
Related people: Alain McClain, Thomas D. Sharkey (CA)
This work was primarily funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
Jianping Hu, professor at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) and the Department of Plant Biology, received a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the motility of cellular energy organelles, peroxisomes and mitochondria in particular, along the cytoskeleton in Arabidopsis thaliana.
As our planet’s climate continues to be unpredictable, understanding how plants respond to adverse environmental conditions becomes essential. Improving crop productivity will be vital to feed the nine billion people estimated to be alive in 2050.
Grad student Philip Engelgau and postdoc Peipei Wang have been awarded the 2022 Anton Lang Memorial Award at a ceremony which took place on Monday, April 25, 2022. This year’s lecture was given by Professor Emeritus Govindjee from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.