A study was carried out to analyse the individual and combined effects of heavy metal toxicity and high irradiance on the photosynthetic characteristics of young, fully expanded leaves of palm seedling Trachycarpus fortunei under laboratory conditions. Heavy metals were found to inhibit both the light and dark reactions of photosynthes...is and the inhibition was more affected in the light than in the dark. Single photoinhibitory conditions caused a 60 % decrease in the electron transport activity after 120 min of light exposure which was completely reversible in the dark. In contrast, the combined effect of high light and heavy metal treatment resulted in a 90 % decrease in the activity, but no reversible recovery in the dark could be detected. This indicated that the simultaneous effect of these two stress factors led to irreversible damages of the photosynthetic machinery and as a consequence caused the general destruction of the plant.
Abbreviations and symbols: Fo: initial chlorophyll fluorescence; Fm: maximum total fluorescence; Fv: variable fluorescence; AFi: intermediate level of fluorescence induction; PSII: photosystem 2.