Journal Article

Cell structural changes in the mesophyll of Norway spruce needles by elevated ozone and elevated temperature in open-field exposure during cold acclimation

Minna Kivimäenpää, Johanna Riikonen, Sirkka Sutinen and Toini Holopainen

Edited by Ülo Niinemets

in Tree Physiology

Volume 34, issue 4, pages 389-403
Published in print April 2014 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online April 2014 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpu023
Cell structural changes in the mesophyll of Norway spruce needles by elevated ozone and elevated temperature in open-field exposure during cold acclimation

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The effects of elevated ozone (1.4× ambient) and temperature (ambient +1.3 °C) alone and in combination were studied on the needle cell structure of soil-grown Norway spruce seedlings in the late growing season and winter. Temperature treatment continued over winter and lengthened the snow-free period. Elevated temperature caused microscopic changes related to photosynthesis (decreased chloroplast size and increased number), carbon storage (reduced starch and increased cytoplasmic lipids) and defence (decreased mitochondrial size and proportion per cytoplasm, increased peroxisomes and plastoglobuli, altered appearance of tannins). The results suggest increased oxidative stress by elevated temperature and altered allocation of limited carbon reserve to defence. The number of peroxisomes and plastoglobuli remained high in the outer cells of needles of ozone-exposed seedlings but decreased in the inner cells. This may indicate defence allocation to cells close to the stomata and surface, which are experiencing more oxidative stress. Ozone reduced winter hardiness based on seasonal changes in chloroplast shape and location in the cells. The effects of ozone became evident at the end of the growing season, indicating the effect of cumulative ozone dose or that the seedlings were vulnerable to ozone at the later phases of winter hardening. Elevated temperature increased cellular damage in early winter and visible damage in spring, and the damage was enhanced by ozone. In conclusion, the study suggests that modest air temperature elevation increases stress at the cell structural level in spruce seedlings and is enhanced by low ozone elevation. Future climatic conditions where snow cover is formed later or is lacking but temperatures are low can increase the risk of severe seedling damage, and current and future predicted ozone concentrations increase this risk.

Keywords: cell structure; microscopy; Picea abies; ultrastructure; warming; winter hardiness

Journal Article.  9344 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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