Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Evaluation of light-dependent photosynthetic reactions in Reynoutria japonica Houtt. leaves grown at different light conditions.

Abstract

The Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica Houtt.) is considered as one of the most aggressive and highly successful invasive plants with a negative impact on invaded habitats. Its uncontrolled expansion became a significant threat to the native species throughout Europe. Due to its extensive rhizome system, rapid growth, and allelopathic activity, it usually forms monocultures that negatively affect the nearby vegetation. The efficient regulation of partitioning and utilization of energy in photosynthesis enables invasive plants to adapt rapidly a variety of environmental conditions. Therefore, we aimed to determine the influence of light conditions on photosynthetic reactions in the Japanese knotweed. Plants were grown under two different light regimes, namely, constant low light (CLL, 40 μmol/m2/s) and fluctuating light (FL, 0-1,250 μmol/m2/s). To evaluate the photosynthetic performance, the direct and modulated chlorophyll a fluorescence was measured. Plants grown at a CLL served as control. The photosynthetic measurements revealed better photosystem II (PSII) stability and functional oxygen-evolving center of plants grown in FL. They also exhibited more efficient conversion of excitation energy to electron transport and an efficient electron transport beyond the primary electron acceptor QA, all the way to PSI. The enhanced photochemical activity of PSI suggested the formation of a successful adaptive mechanism by regulating the distribution of excitation energy between PSII and PSI to minimize photooxidative damage. A faster oxidation at the PSI side most probably resulted in the generation of the cyclic electron flow around PSI. Besides, the short-term exposure of FL-grown knotweeds to high light intensity increased the yield induced by downregulatory processes, suggesting that the generation of the cyclic electron flow protected PSI from photoinhibition.