Seasonal changes of violaxanthin cycle pigment de-epoxidation in wintergreen and evergreen plants
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We studied carotenoids composition and the activities of the xanthophylls pigments in evergreen conifers (Abies sibirica, Juniperus communis, Picea obovata) and dwarf-shrub (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), and in wintergreen herbaceous plants (Ajuga reptans, Pyrola rotundifolia) growing near Syktyvkar (61°67/ N 50°77/ E). The carotenoid pool consisted mainly of following xanthophylls: lutein (70%), neoxanthin (7-10%) and a xanthophylls cycle component - violaxanthin (3-15%). Zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin were found in conifer samples collected in December-March while in other species - during all year. A direct connection between xanthophyll pigment de-epoxidation level and light energy thermal dissipation was shown only for boreal conifer species. It is proposed that zeaxanthin plays a central role in the dissipation of excess excitation energy (nonphotochemical quenching) in the antenna of photosystem II (PSII). We conclude that the increase in the extent of de-epoxidation is beneficial for the retention of PSII activity for conifers in early spring and for herbs in summer.
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