Non-invasive tools to estimate stress-induced changes in photosynthetic performance in plants inhabiting Mediterranean areas
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In Mediterranean areas, plants are concomitantly exposed to various abiotic stresses such as light intensity, water deficit, extremes in air temperature, air pollutants, etc. These environmental pressures adversely affect plant development. Changes in photosystem activity are an early response of plants to abiotic stresses. Therefore, chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence and gas exchange, two non-invasive, rapid and inexpensive techniques for measuring photosynthesis in leaves, have been widely used by plant eco-physiologists to analyse plant responses to stressful conditions. Chl a fluorescence and gas exchange parameters can be indeed used to evaluate changes in photochemical and non-photochemical processes in photosystems associated with electron transport, CO2 fixation, and heat dissipation. In this review, we focus our analysis on the effects of different abiotic stresses on the photochemistry of Mediterranean plants using Chl a fluorescence and gas exchange measurements. Since changes in photosynthetic parameters are observed in the absence of visual injuries, these methodologies constitute fundamental tools to predict and evaluate the extent to which abiotic stresses damage photosynthesis. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.