A UV-B exclusion-experiment was conducted in the high Arctic Zackenberg, NE Greenland, in which Salix arctica leaves during most of the growing season were fixed perpendicular to the solar zenith angle, thereby receiving maximal solar radiation. Covered with Teflon and Mylar foil, the leaves received approximately 90 and 40% of the ambient UV-B irradiance, respectively. The effects were examined through recordings of chlorophyll a fluorescence transients, determination of biomass and analysis of total carbon and nitrogen content and amount of soluble flavonoids in the leaves. The processing of light was analysed by means of the chlorophyll a fluorescence transient, using the so-called JIP test, as evolved by Reto J. Strasser and his coworkers. Reduction of the UV-B irradiance caused a rise in many of the fluorescence parameters during July, but not in August (late season). Thus increases in the efficiency that an absorbed photon will be trapped by the PSII reaction centre with the resultant reduction of QA to QA- (ET0/ABS = FV/FM) and the efficiency that an electron residing on QA- will enter the intersystem electron transport chain (ET0/TR0) were observed in reduced UV-B. Moreover, estimated per cross-section of leaf sample, the number of active PSII reaction centres (RC/CSM) and electron transport rate (ETM/CSM) and all performance indexes (PIABS, PICSo and PICSm) were increased in reduced UV-B. The total soluble flavonoid content was highest in ambient UV-B. The treatment effects on fluorescence parameters that were directly measured (e.g. F0 and FM) and those that were derived (e.g. quantum efficiencies, parameters per PSII reaction centres and per cross-section of leaf sample) are discussed in relation to one another, in relation to daily and seasonal variation, and from the perspective of evaluating the relative importance of UV-B of donor and acceptor side capacity in Photosystem II. In conclusion, the experimental set-up and non-invasive measurements proved to be a sensitive method to screen for effects of UV-B stress.
Physiol. Plant, 2005, Vol 124, Issue 2, p. 208-226