Carotenoid composition and photochemical activity of four sandy grassland species

S. Veres, V. R. Tóth, R. Láposi, V. Oláh, G. Lakatos, I. Mészáros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


The photosynthetic pigments and photochemical efficiency of photosystem 2 (PS2) were studied in four constitutive species (Achillea millefolium L., Festuca pseudovina Hack. ex Wiesb., Potentilla arenaria Borkh., and Thymus degenianus Lyka) of a semiarid grassland in South-eastern Hungary. Every species displayed typical sun-adapted traits and substantial plasticity in the composition and functioning of the photosynthetic apparatus. The contents of chlorophylls (Chls) and carotenoids (Cars) on a dry matter basis declined from May to July, however, the amount of total Cars on a Chl basis increased. This increase was the largest in Potentilla (48 %) and the smallest in Achillea (14 %). The pool of xanthophylls (VAZ) was between 25 % and 45 % of the total Car content and was larger in July than in May. The content of β-carotene increased by July, but lutein content did not change significantly. The Chl fluorescence ratio Fv/Fm was reduced by 3-10 % at noon, reflecting the down-regulation of PS2 in the period of high irradiance and high temperature. The occurrence of minimal values of ΔF/Fm′ showed close correlation to the de-epoxidation rate of violaxanthin. Hence in natural habitats these species developed a considerable capacity to dissipate excess excitation energy in the summer period in their photosynthetic apparatus through the xanthophyll cycle pool and a related photoprotective mechanism, when the photochemical utilization of photon energy was down-regulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Chlorophyll
  • Dry mass
  • Photochemical efficiency
  • Photosystem 2
  • Seasonal changes
  • Species differences
  • Xanthophyll cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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