The chlorophyll fluorescence parameter Fv/Fm reflects the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) photochemistry and has been widely used for early stress detection in plants. Previously, we have used a three-tiered approach of phenotyping by Fv/Fm to identify naturally existing genetic variation for tolerance to severe heat stress (3 days at 40∘C in controlled conditions) in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Here we investigated the performance of the previously selected cultivars (high and low group based on Fv/Fm value) in terms of growth and photosynthetic traits undermoderate heat stress (1 week at 36/30∘C day/night temperature in greenhouse) closer to natural heat waves in North-Western Europe. Dry matter accumulation after 7 days of heat stresswas positively correlated to Fv/Fm. The high Fv/Fm group maintained significantly higher total chlorophyll and net photosynthetic rate (PN) than the low group, accompanied by higher stomatal conductance (gs), transpiration rate (E) and evaporative cooling of the leaf (ΔT). The difference in PN between the groups was not caused by differences in PSII capacity or gs as the variation in Fv/Fm and intracellular CO2 (Ci) was non-significant under the given heat stress. This study validated that our three-tiered approach of phenotyping by Fv/Fm performed under increasing severity of heat was successful in identifying wheat cultivars differing in photosynthesis under moderate and agronomically more relevant heat stress. The identified cultivars may serve as a valuable resource for further studies to understand the physiological mechanisms underlying the genetic variability in heat sensitivity of photosynthesis.
Physiologia Plantarum, 2015, Vol 153, Issue 2, p. 284-298