The effect of reduced, natural ambient, and enhanced UV-B radiation (UVBR) on photosynthesis and DNA damage in the Antarctic terrestrial alga Prasiola crispa ssp. antarctica (Kützing) Knebel was investigated in two field experiments. Samples of P. crispa were collected underneath snow cover and exposed outside to reduced and natural UVBR in the austral spring. In a second experiment at the end of the austral summer, samples were exposed to ambient and enhanced UVBR. PSII efficiency, net photosynthetic rate (NP), dark respiration rate (DR), UV-absorbing pigments, and cyclobutyl pyrimidine dimer (CPD) formation were measured during the experiments.
In October 1998, a spring midday maximum of 2.0 W·m−2 of UVBR did not significantly affect effective quantum yield (ΔF/Fm′), and a reduction in the ratio of variable to maximal fluorescence (Fv/Fm) in the late afternoon was transient. Exposure to natural ambient UVBR in October increased CPD values significantly. Midday maxima of UVBR during the experiments in October and January were comparable, but Setlow-DNA-weighted UVBR was more than 50% lower in January than in October. In January, 0.5 W·m−2 additional UVBR during 10 h did not have a negative effect on ΔF/Fm′.
The reduction in Fv/Fm was not significant. NP and DR were not affected by supplementation of UVBR. Although photosynthetic activity remained largely unaffected by UVBR treatment, DNA damage was shown to be a sensitive parameter to monitor UVBR effects. Supplementation of additional UVBR did significantly enhance the amounts of CPD in exposed samples and repair took place overnight. It is concluded that PSII and whole-chain photosynthesis of P. crispa is well adapted to ambient and enhanced levels of UVBR but that CPD formation is more sensitive to UVBR than to photosynthesis.
Lud, D., Buma, A.G., Van De Poll, W., Moerdijk, T.C. and Huiskes, A.H., 2001. DNA damage and photosynthetic performance in the Antarctic terrestrial alga prasiola crispa ssp. Antarctica (chlorophyta) under manipulated UV-B radiation. Journal of Phycology, 37(4), pp.459-467.
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