Short- and long-term modulation of the lutein epoxide and violaxanthin cycles in two species of the Lauraceae: sweet bay laurel (Laurus nobilis L.) and avocado (Persea americana Mill.)
Short- and long-term responses of the violaxanthin (V) and lutein epoxide (Lx) cycles were studied in two species of Lauraceae: sweet bay laurel (Laurus nobilis L.) and avocado (Persea americana L.). The Lx content exceeded the V content in shade leaves of both species. Both Lx and V were de-epoxidised on illumination, but only V was fully restored by epoxidation in low light. Violaxanthin was preferentially de-epoxidised in low light in L. nobilis. This suggests that Lx accumulates with leaf ageing, partly because its conversion to lutein is limited in shade. After exposure to strong light, shade leaves of avocado readjusted the total pools of α- and β-xanthophyll cycles by de novo synthesis of antheraxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. This occurred in parallel with a sustained depression of Fv/Fm. In Persea indica, a closely related but low Lx species, Fv/Fm recovered faster after a similar light treatment, suggesting the involvement of the Lx cycle in sustained energy dissipation. Furthermore, the seasonal correlation between non-reversible Lx and V photoconversions and pre-dawn Fv/Fm in sun leaves of sweet bay supported the conclusion that the Lx cycle is involved in a slowly reversible downregulation of photosynthesis analogous to the V cycle.