A comparative study of leaf anatomy and morphology and of CO2 exchange was conducted with Rhodiola rosea L., Hylotelephium triphyllum (Haw.) Holub., and Sedum acre L. as representative Crassulacean species occurring in the northeast European Russia. The leaf mesophyll in R. rosea was clearly differentiated into the palisade and spongy tissues, whereas the mesophyll of stonecrops (H. triphyllum and S. acre) was composed of round-shaped cells. The leaves of S. acre featured the largest volume of mesophyll cells and possessed water-retaining cells located around conducting bundles. The chloroplast volume in S. acre (50 μm3) was three times smaller and the number of chloroplasts per cell (170 cell−1) was three times higher than in R. rosea and H. triphyllum (50–55 cell−1). The content of chlorophylls (5–7 mg/g dry wt) and carotenoids (1.5–2.0 mg/g dry wt) in R. rosea leaves was 2–3 times higher than in leaves of stonecrops. The rate of CO2 net uptake in Crassulacean species depended on mesostructure and correlated with the content of pigments and soluble carbohydrates. The photosynthetic rate in R. rosea under optimal irradiance and temperature attained the value of 40 mg/(g dry wt), which is 3 and 8 times higher than in H. triphyllum and S. acre, respectively. The temperature optimum for photosynthesis of R. rosea was observed at 8–18°C, while the optimum for stonecrops was shifted towards higher temperatures by 3–5°C. At chilling temperatures (5–7°C), the leaves of R. rosea retained 50% of their maximal photosynthetic rate, while photosynthetic rates in H. triphyllum and S. acre leaves lowered to 25–30% of the maximal rate. The increase in temperature to 25–30°C led to depression of CO2 net uptake in leaves of Crassulacean species. In R. rosea and H. triphyllum, the rate of photosynthetic electron flow was depressed at high irradiances and temperatures that were supraoptimal for net photosynthesis. It is concluded that the photosynthetic apparatus of Crassulacean species is well adapted to moderate and chilling temperatures, which adjusts the plant metabolism to “life strategies” under conditions of cold climate.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 30, 2008
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