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Comparison of photosynthetic pigment contents in stems and leaves of fruit trees: cherry, sweet cherry, common plum, and walnut tree

Jan Pilarski*,**, Krzysztof Tokarz*, Maciej Kocurek*

**Institute of Plant Physiology
**Polish Academy of Science
**Niezapominajek 21, 30-239 Kraków, Poland
**Institute of Biology
**Świętkorzyska Academy
**Świętokrzyska 15, 25-406 Kielce, Poland
**e-mail: j.pilarski@ifr-pan.krakow.pl

The investigations were carried out on current-year, 1-, 2-, 3-year old stems and leaves of fruit trees: cherry, sweet cherry, pear, common plum, and walnut. The content of chlorophyll a and b and the sum of the carotenoids were determined.

In the examined species of trees, the content of chlorophyll increased with the age of stems, except the cherry tree, in which its content decreased. The content of chlorophyll in the current-year stems amounted from 1.6 to 2.2 mg dm-2, in 3-year old stems it was 1.6-2.8 mg dm-2, and in leaves its amount varied from 2.7 to 4.5 mg dm-2. The 3-year old stems, when compared to the current-year stems, contained about 40-50% more chlorophyll in common plum, walnut and pear trees, and about 85% more in sweet cherry tree. In the cherry tree the amount of chlorophyll decreased by 15% during the time of the experiment. In comparisonwith the leaves, the stems contained similar amounts of chlorophyll in sweet cherry and walnut trees, or smaller amounts in the common plum tree by about 40%, in the pear tree - by about 50%, and in the cherry trees by nearly 70%. In all the trees the value of the chlorophyll a/b ratio in the stems was considerably smaller in comparison with the leaves.

The content of carotenoids in the current-year stems varied from 0.5 to 1.4 mg dm-2, and with age of the stems it increased to 0.6-1.4 mg dm-2 in the 3-year old stems, and in the leaves it amounted from 0.9 to 1.3 mg dm-2. Compared to the leaves, the stems contained similar amounts of carotenoids in sweet cherry and common plum trees, whereas the amount of carotenoids was higher in the leaves of the cherry and pear trees and smaller in the leaves of walnut tree.

The ratio of the content of chlorophyll to that of carotenoids oscillated from 2 to 4. In the stems and leaves of the sweet cherry and the pear trees it was similar. In the common plum and walnut trees its value in the leaves was higher in comparison with that in the stems, and in the current-year stems of the cherry and plum trees it was grater in comparison with older year groups of stems.

The results demonstrated that in most examined species bark chlorophyll content increased with the age of stems, the fact not reported in the literature before.

Pilarski J., Tokarz K., Kocurek M., 2007. Comparison of photosynthetic pigment contents in stems and leaves of fruit trees: cherry, sweet cherry, common plum, and walnut tree. Folia Horticulturae 19/1: 53-65.