Leaves are the most important photosynthetic organs in most woody plants, but chloroplasts are also found in organs optimized for other functions. However, the actual photosynthetic efficiency of these chloroplasts is still unclear. We analyzed bark and wood chloroplasts of Fraxinus ornus L. saplings. Optical and spectroscopic methods were applied to stem samples and compared with leaves. A sharp light gradient was detected along the stem radial direction, with blue light mainly absorbed by the outer bark, and far-red-enriched light reaching the underlying xylem and pith. Chlorophylls were evident in the xylem rays and the pith and showed an increasing concentration gradient toward the bark. The stem photosynthetic apparatus showed features typical of acclimation to a low-light environment, such as larger grana stacks, lower chlorophyll a/b and photosystem I/II ratios compared with leaves. Despite likely receiving very few photons, wood chloroplasts were photosynthetically active and fully capable of generating a light-dependent electron transport. Our data provide a comprehensive scenario of the functional features of bark and wood chloroplasts in a woody species and suggest that stem photosynthesis is coherently optimized to the prevailing micro-environmental conditions at the bark and wood level.

Structure and function of bark and wood chloroplasts in a drought-tolerant tree (Fraxinus ornus L.)

Natale, Sara
;
Nardini, Andrea;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Leaves are the most important photosynthetic organs in most woody plants, but chloroplasts are also found in organs optimized for other functions. However, the actual photosynthetic efficiency of these chloroplasts is still unclear. We analyzed bark and wood chloroplasts of Fraxinus ornus L. saplings. Optical and spectroscopic methods were applied to stem samples and compared with leaves. A sharp light gradient was detected along the stem radial direction, with blue light mainly absorbed by the outer bark, and far-red-enriched light reaching the underlying xylem and pith. Chlorophylls were evident in the xylem rays and the pith and showed an increasing concentration gradient toward the bark. The stem photosynthetic apparatus showed features typical of acclimation to a low-light environment, such as larger grana stacks, lower chlorophyll a/b and photosystem I/II ratios compared with leaves. Despite likely receiving very few photons, wood chloroplasts were photosynthetically active and fully capable of generating a light-dependent electron transport. Our data provide a comprehensive scenario of the functional features of bark and wood chloroplasts in a woody species and suggest that stem photosynthesis is coherently optimized to the prevailing micro-environmental conditions at the bark and wood level.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3052940
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