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Changes in photosynthetic rate and stress volatile emissions through desiccation‐rehydration cycles in desiccation‐tolerant epiphytic filmy ferns (Hymenophyllaceae)

Niinemets, Ülo, Bravo, León A., Copolovici, Lucian
Plant, cell and environment 2018 v.41 no.7 pp. 1605-1617
Hymenophyllum, canopy, cell walls, emissions, epiphytes, ferns and fern allies, leaves, lipoxygenase, methanol, photosynthesis, rehydration, risk, symplast
Exposure to recurrent desiccation cycles carries a risk of accumulation of reactive oxygen species that can impair leaf physiological activity upon rehydration, but changes in filmy fern stress status through desiccation and rewatering cycles have been poorly studied. We studied foliage photosynthetic rate and volatile marker compounds characterizing cell wall modifications (methanol) and stress development (lipoxygenase [LOX] pathway volatiles and methanol) through desiccation–rewatering cycles in lower‐canopy species Hymenoglossum cruentum and Hymenophyllum caudiculatum, lower‐ to upper‐canopy species Hymenophyllum plicatum and upper‐canopy species Hymenophyllum dentatum sampled from a common environment and hypothesized that lower canopy species respond more strongly to desiccation and rewatering. In all species, rates of photosynthesis and LOX volatile emission decreased with progression of desiccation, but LOX emission decreased with a slower rate than photosynthesis. Rewatering first led to an emission burst of LOX volatiles followed by methanol, indicating that the oxidative burst was elicited in the symplast and further propagated to cell walls. Changes in LOX emissions were more pronounced in the upper‐canopy species that had a greater photosynthetic activity and likely a greater rate of production of photooxidants. We conclude that rewatering induces the most severe stress in filmy ferns, especially in the upper canopy species.