Optical properties of bud scales and protochlorophyll(ide) forms in leaf primordia of closed and opened buds

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The transmission spectra of bud scales of 14 woody species and the 77 K fluorescence emission spectra of the innermost leaf primordia of closed and opened buds of 37 woody species were studied. Pigment concentrations were determined in some species. Bud scales had low transmittance between 400 and 680 nm with a local minimum around 680 nm. Transmittance increased steeply above 680 nm and was > 80% in the 700-800 nm spectral region. Significant protochlorophyllide (Pchlide) accumulation was observed in leaf primordia of tightly packed, closed buds with relatively thick, dark bud scales. In common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) and Hungarian ash (Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl.), the innermost leaf primordia of the closed buds contained protochlorophyll (Pchl) and Pchlide (abbreviated as Pchl(ide)), but no chlorophyll. We observed Pchl(ide) forms with emission maxima at 633, 643 and 655 nm in these leaves. Complete transformation of Pchlide655 (protochlorophyllide form with maximum emission at 655 nm) into Chlide692 (chlorophyllide form with maximum emission at 692 nm) occurred after irradiation for 10 s. The innermost leaf primordia of the buds of four species (flowering ash (Fraxinus ornus L.), horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.), tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima P. Mill.) and common walnut (Juglans regia L.)) contained Pchl(ide) 633, Pchl(ide)643 and Pchlide655 as well as an emission band at 688 nm corresponding to a chlorophyll form. The Pchlide 655 was fully photoactive in these species. The outermost leaf primordia of these four species and the innermost leaf primordia of 28 other species contained all of the above described Pchl(ide) forms in various ratios but in small amounts. In addition, Chl forms were present and the main bands in the fluorescence emission spectra were at 690 or 740 nm, or both. The results indicate that Pchl(ide) accumulation occurs in leaf primordia in near darkness inside the tightly closed buds, where the bud scales and the external leaf primordia function as optical filters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1085
Number of pages11
JournalTree Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006



  • Chlorophyll biosynthesis
  • Etiolation
  • LPOR
  • NAD-PH:protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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