Sinks for photosynthetic electron flow in green petioles and pedicels of Zantedeschia aethiopica: evidence for innately high photorespiration and cyclic electron flow rates.
A combination of gas exchange and various chlorophyll fluorescence measurements under varying O(2) and CO(2) partial pressures were used to characterize photosynthesis in green, stomata-bearing petioles of Zantedeschia aethiopica (calla lily) while corresponding leaves served as controls. Compared to leaves, petioles displayed considerably lower CO(2) assimilation rates, limited by both stomatal and mesophyll components. Further analysis of mesophyll limitations indicated lower carboxylating efficiencies and insufficient RuBP regeneration but almost similar rates of linear electron transport. Accordingly, higher oxygenation/carboxylation ratios were assumed for petioles and confirmed by experiments under non-photorespiratory conditions. Higher photorespiration rates in petioles were accompanied by higher cyclic electron flow around PSI, the latter being possibly linked to limitations in electron transport from intermediate electron carriers to end acceptors and low contents of PSI. Based on chlorophyll fluorescence methods, similar conclusions can be drawn for green pedicels, although gas exchange in these organs could not be applied due to their bulky size. Since our test plants were not subjected to stress we argue that higher photorespiration and cyclic electron flow rates are innate attributes of photosynthesis in stalks of calla lily. Active nitrogen metabolism may be inferred, while increased cyclic electron flow may provide the additional ATP required for the enhanced photorespiratory activity in petiole and pedicel chloroplasts and/or the decarboxylation of malate ascending from roots.