Wheat plant selection for high yields entailed improvement of leaf anatomical and biochemical traits including tolerance to non-optimal temperature conditions

Marian Brestic, Marek Zivcak, Pavol Hauptvogel, Svetlana Misheva, Konstantina Kocheva, Xinghong Yang, Xiangnan Li, Suleyman Allakhverdiev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Assessment of photosynthetic traits and temperature tolerance was performed on field-grown modern genotype (MG), and the local landrace (LR) of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) as well as the wild relative species (Aegilops cylindrica Host.). The comparison was based on measurements of the gas exchange (A/ci, light and temperature response curves), slow and fast chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics, and some growth and leaf parameters. In MG, we observed the highest CO2 assimilation rate (ACO2), electron transport rate (Jmax) and maximum carboxylation rate (VCmax). The Aegilops leaves had substantially lower values of all photosynthetic parameters; this fact correlated with its lower biomass production. The mesophyll conductance was almost the same in Aegilops and MG, despite the significant differences in leaf phenotype. In contrary, in LR with a higher dry mass per leaf area, the half mesophyll conductance (gm) values indicated more limited CO2 diffusion. In Aegilops, we found much lower carboxylation capacity; this can be attributed mainly to thin leaves and lower Rubisco activity. The difference in CO2 assimilation rate between MG and others was diminished because of its higher mitochondrial respiration activity indicating more intense metabolism. Assessment of temperature response showed lower temperature optimum and a narrow ecological valence (i.e., the range determining the tolerance limits of a species to an environmental factor) in Aegilops. In addition, analysis of photosynthetic thermostability identified the LR as the most sensitive. Our results support the idea that the selection for high yields was accompanied by the increase of photosynthetic productivity through unintentional improvement of leaf anatomical and biochemical traits including tolerance to non-optimal temperature conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Aegilops
  • Heat stress
  • Landrace
  • Mesophyll conductance
  • Photosynthesis
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

Cite this