High biological variability of plastids, photosynthetic pigments and pigment forms of leaf primordia in buds

Katalin Solymosi, Dominique Morandi, Károly Bóka, Béla Böddi, Benoît Schoefs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


To study the formation of the photosynthetic apparatus in nature, the carotenoid and chlorophyllous pigment compositions of differently developed leaf primordia in closed and opening buds of common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.) as well as in closed buds of tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima P. Mill.) were analyzed with HPLC. The native organization of the chlorophyllous pigments was studied using 77 K fluorescence spectroscopy, and plastid ultrastructure was investigated with electron microscopy. Complete etiolation, i. e., accumulation of protochlorophyllide, and absence of chlorophylls occurred in the innermost leaf primordia of common ash buds. The other leaf primordia were partially etiolated in the buds and contained protochlorophyllide (0. 5-1 μg g -1 fresh mass), chlorophyllides (0. 2-27 μg g -1 fresh mass) and chlorophylls (0. 9-643 μg g -1 fresh mass). Etio-chloroplasts with prolamellar bodies and either regular or only low grana were found in leaves having high or low amounts of chlorophyll a and b, respectively. After bud break, etioplast-chloroplast conversion proceeded and the pigment contents increased in the leaves, similarly to the greening processes observed in illuminated etiolated seedlings under laboratory conditions. The pigment contents and the ratio of the different spectral forms had a high biological variability that could be attributed to (i) various light conditions due to light filtering in the buds resulting in differently etiolated leaf primordia, (ii) to differences in the light-exposed and inner regions of the same primordia in opening buds due to various leaf folding, and (iii) to tissue-specific slight variations of plastid ultrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1049
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2012


  • Aesculus
  • Ailanthus
  • Carotenoids
  • Etiolation
  • Fraxinus
  • Protochlorophyllide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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