University of Tasmania
136282 - In vivo photoprotection mechanisms observed from leaf spectral absorbance changes.pdf (26.7 MB)

In vivo photoprotection mechanisms observed from leaf spectral absorbance changes showing VIS-NIR slow-induced conformational pigment bed changes

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 08:54 authored by Van Wittenberghe, S, Alonso, L, Zbynek MalenovskyZbynek Malenovsky, Moreno, J
Regulated heat dissipation under excessive light comprises a complexity of mechanisms, whereby the supramolecular light-harvesting pigment–protein complex (LHC) shifts state from light harvesting towards heat dissipation, quenching the excess of photo-induced excitation energy in a non-photochemical way. Based on whole-leaf spectroscopy measuring upward and downward spectral radiance fluxes, we studied spectrally contiguous (hyperspectral) transient time series of absorbance A(λ,t) and passively induced chlorophyll fluorescence F(λ,t) dynamics of intact leaves in the visible and near-infrared wavelengths (VIS–NIR, 400–800 nm) after sudden strong natural-like illumination exposure. Besides light avoidance mechanism, we observed on absorbance signatures, calculated from simultaneous reflectance R(λ,t) and transmittance T(λ,t) measurements as A(λ,t) = 1 - R(λ,t) - T(λ,t), major dynamic events with specific onsets and kinetical behaviour. A consistent well-known fast carotenoid absorbance feature (500-570 nm) appears within the first seconds to minutes, seen from both the reflected (backscattered) and transmitted (forward scattered) radiance differences. Simultaneous fast Chl features are observed, either as an increased or decreased scattering behaviour during quick light adjustment consistent with re-organizations of the membrane. The carotenoid absorbance feature shows up simultaneously with a major F decrease and corresponds to the xanthophyll conversion, as quick response to the proton gradient build-up. After xanthophyll conversion (t = 3 min), a kinetically slower but major and smooth absorbance increase was occasionally observed from the transmitted radiance measurements as wide peaks in the green (∼ 550 nm) and the near-infrared (∼ 750 nm) wavelengths, involving no further F quenching. Surprisingly, in relation to the response to high light, this broad and consistent VIS–NIR feature indicates a slowly induced absorbance increase with a sigmoid kinetical behaviour. In analogy to sub-leaf-level observations, we suggest that this mechanism can be explained by a structure-induced low-energy-shifted energy redistribution involving both Car and Chl. These findings might pave the way towards a further non-invasive spectral investigation of antenna conformations and their relations with energy quenching at the intact leaf level, which is, in combination with F measurements, of a high importance for assessing plant photosynthesis in vivo and in addition from remote observations.


Publication title

Photosynthesis Research








School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Kluwer Academic Publ

Place of publication

Van Godewijckstraat 30, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 3311 Gz

Rights statement

© The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems; Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences