Photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence and photochemical reflectance index in photoinhibited leaves

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Solar-induced chlorophyll (chl) fluorescence (SIF) has been shown to be positively correlated with vegetation photosynthesis, suggesting that it is a useful signal for understanding of environmental responses and spatial heterogeneity of photosynthetic activity at various scales from leaf to the globe. Photosynthesis is often inhibited in stressful environments (photoinhibition), but how photoinhibition influences the relationship between photosynthesis and chl fluorescence remains unclear. Here, I studied light energy allocation among photosynthesis, chl fluorescence and heat dissipation in photoinhibited leaves and tested whether photosynthesis in photoinhibited leaves can be evaluated from chl fluorescence and reflectance spectra in remote sensing. Chl fluorescence and reflection spectra were examined with the pulse amplified modulation (PAM) system and spectroradiometer, respectively. Photoinhibited leaves had lower photosynthetic rates and quantum yields of photochemistry (ΦP) and higher chl fluorescence yields. Consequently, photosynthesis was negatively correlated with chl fluorescence, which contrasts the positive relationships between photosynthesis and SIF observed in past remote sensing studies. This suggests that vegetation photosynthesis evaluated solely from chl fluorescence may be overestimated if the vegetation is dominated by severely photoinhibited leaves. When a model of energy allocation was applied, ΦP estimated from chl fluorescence and photochemical reflectance index (PRI) significantly correlated with the observed ΦP, suggesting that the model is useful to evaluate photosynthetic activities of photoinhibited leaves by remote sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-826
Number of pages12
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul


  • PRI
  • energy allocation
  • gross primary production (GPP)
  • heat dissipation
  • non-photochemical quenching (NPQ)
  • photoinhibition
  • photosystem II (PSII)
  • quantum yield
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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