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REVIEW: Spectral and Kinetic Parameters of Phosphorescence of Triplet Chlorophyll a in the Photosynthetic Apparatus of Plants

A. A. Krasnovsky, Jr.1,2* and Yu. V. Kovalev2

1Bach Institute of Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky pr. 33, 119071 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 954-2732

2Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119899 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: phoal@mail.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received January 24, 2014
Spectral and kinetic parameters and quantum yield of IR phosphorescence accompanying radiative deactivation of the chlorophyll a (Chl a) triplet state were compared in pigment solutions, greening and mature plant leaves, isolated chloroplasts, and thalluses of macrophytic marine algae. On the early stages of greening just after the Shibata shift, phosphorescence is determined by the bulk Chl a molecules. According to phosphorescence measurement, the quantum yield of triplet state formation is not less than 25%. Further greening leads to a strong decrease in the phosphorescence yield. In mature leaves developing under normal irradiation conditions, the phosphorescence yield declined 1000-fold. This parameter is stable in leaves of different plant species. Three spectral forms of phosphorescence-emitting chlorophyll were revealed in the mature photosynthetic apparatus with the main emission maxima at 955, 975, and 995 nm and lifetimes ~1.9, ~1.5, and 1.1-1.3 ms. In the excitation spectra of chlorophyll phosphorescence measured in thalluses of macrophytic green and red algae, the absorption bands of Chl a and accessory pigments – carotenoids, Chl b, and phycobilins – were observed. These data suggest that phosphorescence is emitted by triplet chlorophyll molecules that are not quenched by carotenoids and correspond to short wavelength forms of Chl a coupled to the normal light harvesting pigment complex. The concentration of the phosphorescence-emitting chlorophyll molecules in chloroplasts and the contribution of these molecules to chlorophyll fluorescence were estimated. Spectral and kinetic parameters of the phosphorescence corresponding to the long wavelength fluorescence band at 737 nm were evaluated. The data indicate that phosphorescence provides unique information on the photophysics of pigment molecules, molecular organization of the photosynthetic apparatus, and mechanisms and efficiency of photodynamic stress in plants.
KEY WORDS: chlorophyll, triplet state, phosphorescence, photodymanic stress, photosynthesis

DOI: 10.1134/S000629791404004X