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Ann. For. Sci.
Volume 58, Number 3, April 2001
Page(s) 225 - 235
DOI: 10.1051/forest:2001122

Ann. For. Sci. 58 (2001) 225-235

Chlorophyll fluorescence characteristics, performance and survival of freshly lifted and cold stored Douglas fir seedlings

Michael P. Perksa, Suzanne Monaghana, Conor O'Reillyb, Bruce A. Osbornea and Derek T. Mitchella

a  Department of Botany, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
b  Department of Crop Science, Horticulture and Forestry, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland

(Received 1st August 2000; accepted 28 November 2000)

The physiological condition of three-year-old Douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] was periodically assessed from October to May 1998/1999 during propagation of seedlings in an Irish nursery. Seedling physiological status was evaluated in situ using determinations of chlorophyll fluorescence and plant water status. Pre- and post-cold stored (either -2 oC or +0.5 oC) plant vitality was examined using determinations of root growth potential (RGP), root electrolyte leakage (REL), shoot water content and chlorophyll fluorescence. Data obtained from freshly lifted and cold stored stock showed that chlorophyll fluorescence provides a reliable (non-destructive) method of evaluating a seedlings potential field performance in both pre-lift (direct planting) and post-storage (outplanting) situations. Variations in survival and an index of plant health were paralleled by inverse changes in the effective quantum yield of photosystem II ($\Phi$ PSII) from November to April. Significant positive non-linear relationships were found between RGP and $\Phi$ PSII, though they were of limited predictive ability in terms of outplanting performance. Post-storage fluorescence assessments indicated down-regulation and/or damage of the plants photosynthetic light-harvesting complex, which depended on storage temperature and duration.

Caractéristiques de la fluorescence chlorophyllienne, performances et survie de plants de Douglas vert récemment arrachés et stockés au froid. La condition physiologique Douglas [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] âgés de trois ans a été évaluée périodiquement de octobre à mai 1998/1999 pendant la dans une pépinière irlandaise. Le statut physiologique des semis a été évalué in situ par la détermination de la fluorescence chlorophyllienne et de l'état hydrique des plants. La viabilité des plants avant et après stockage au froid (-2 oC ou +0,5 oC) fut examinée par la détermination du potentiel de croissance racinaire (RGP), du relargage d'électrolytes par les racines (REL), de l'humidité des bourgeons et de la fluorescence chlorophyllienne. Les données obtenues sur des plants récemment arrachés et conservés au froid montrent que la mesure de la fluorescence chlorophyllienne est une méthode fiable (non destructive) pour évaluer la performance potentielle au champ des germinations dans les situations de plants avant levage (plantation directe) et de plants stockée. Les variations de survie et index de vitalité du plant étaient inversement proportionnelles aux variations du rendement effectif du photosystème II ($\Phi$ PSII) de novembre à avril. Des relations positives significatives non-linéaires entre RGP et $\Phi$ PSII furent trouvées, bien qu'elles aient une capacité limitée à prédire la performance des plants transplantés. Après stockage, les mesures de fluorescence montrèrent l'inhibition et/ou la détérioration de l'efficacité photochimique du photosystème II qui dépendait de la température et de la durée du stockage.

Key words: chlorophyll fluorescence / cold storage / plant quality / photosystem II / Pseudotsuga menziesii

Mots clés : fluorescence chorophyllienne / stockage au froid / qualité des plants / photosystème II / Pseudotsuga menziesii

Correspondence and reprints: Michael P. Perks Tel. + 353 1 706 2250; Fax. + 353 1 706 1153;

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2001

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