Photosynthetic-induction response and light-fleck utilization were investigated for the current-year seedlings of Quercus serrata, a deciduous tree found in temperate regions of Japan. The tree seedlings were grown under three light regimes: a constant low photosynthetic photon flux density (PFD) regime of 50 μmol m-2 s-1, a constant high PFD regime of 500 μmol m-2 s-1, and a lightfleck regime with alternated low (lasting 5 s) and high (lasting 35 s) PFD. The photosynthetic-induction response following a sudden increase of PFD from 50 to 500 μmol m-2 s-1 exhibited two phases: an initial fast increase complete within 3-5 s, and a second slow increase lasting for 15-20 min. Induction times required to reach 50% and 90% of steady-state assimilation rates were significantly shorter in leaves from the constant low PFD than those from the high PFD regime. During the first 60-100 s, the ratio of observed integrated CO2 uptake to that predicted by assuming that a steady-state assimilation would be achieved instantaneously after the light increase was significantly higher for leaves from the low PFD regime than from the high PFD regime. Lightfleck utilization was examined for various durations of PFD of 500 μmol m-2 s-1 on a background PFD of 50 μmol m-2 s-1. Lightfleck utilization efficiency was significantly higher in low PFD leaves than in the high PFD leaves for 5-s and 10-s lightflecks, but showed no difference among different light regimes for 100-s lightflecks. The contribution of post-illumination CO2 fixation to total carbon gain decreased markedly with increasing lightfleck durations, but exhibited no significant difference among growth regimes. Photosynthetic performances of induction response and lightfleck utilization in leaves from the lightfleck regime were more similar to those in leaves from the low PFD regime. It may be the total daily PFD rather than PFD dynamics in light regimes that affects the characteristics of transient photosynthesis in Q. serrata seedlings.
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