Avocado is a commercially important fruit tree which is sold worldwide. Originating in subtropical regions of the South America, this species is now grown worldwide and is sometimes exposed to cold temperatures. Specifically, frost stress harms the crop yield and its quality. While it is known in general that the photosynthetic apparatus changes in response to cold conditions, there is still not much information regarding the photosynthetic apparatus response to sporadic frost stress. In this study, we tracked the photosynthetic apparatus’ light reaction of ‘Hass’ and ‘Ettinger’ avocado cultivars to frost stress, with Ettinger being known to be more resilient to cold than Hass. We found that in avocado trees, the photosynthetic apparatus’ response to frost occurs at the level of photosystem II (PSII) itself, rather than a photoprotective response to a stress. The Hass apparatus incorrectly interprets the reduction in electron transport rate activity and by that increases its light harvesting complex size at the expense of its reaction centers which then increases the apparatus’ probability to generate reactive oxygen species. The results of this study open opportunities to further research the process which regulates the feedback mechanism that controls the photosynthetic unit’s size in Hass when compared to the Ettinger cultivar, and whether it is part of a feedback regulation from the carbon assimilation step or indirectly from a stomatal limitation which arises in these subtropical species. While corroborating past studies performed on avocados, this study suggests using advanced chlorophyll a fluorescence protocols when researching natural variation in crops.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- chlorophyll a fluorescence
- cold stress
- light reactions
- non-photochemical quenching
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science