High-throughput Analysis of Non-Photochemical Quenching in Crops using Pulse Amplitude Modulated Chlorophyll Fluorometry
Photosynthesis is not optimized in modern crop varieties, and therefore provides an opportunity for improvement. Speeding up the relaxation of non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) has proven to be an effective strategy to increase photosynthetic performance. However, the potential to breed for improved NPQ and a complete understanding of the genetic basis of NPQ relaxation is lacking due to limitations of oversampling and data collection from field-grown crop plants. Building on previous reports, we present a high-throughput assay for analysis of NPQ relaxation rates in Glycine max (soybean) using pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) chlorophyll fluorometry. Leaf disks are sampled from field-grown soybeans before transportation to a laboratory where NPQ relaxation is measured in a closed PAM-fluorometer. NPQ relaxation parameters are calculated by fitting a bi-exponential function to the measured NPQ values following a transition from high to low light. Using this method, it is possible to test hundreds of genotypes within a day. The procedure has the potential to screen mutant and diversity panels for variation in NPQ relaxation, and can therefore be applied to both fundamental and applied research questions.