Half a century of research into the physiology and biochemistry of sun–shade acclimation in diverse plants has provided reality checks for contemporary understanding of thylakoid membrane dynamics. This paper reviews recent insights into photosynthetic efficiency and photoprotection from studies of two xanthophyll cycles in old shade leaves from the inner canopy of the tropical trees Inga sapindoides and Persea americana (avocado). It then presents new physiological data from avocado on the time frames of the slow coordinated photosynthetic development of sink leaves in sunlight and on the slow renovation of photosynthetic properties in old leaves during sun to shade and shade to sun acclimation. In so doing, it grapples with issues in vivo that seem relevant to our increasingly sophisticated understanding of ΔpH-dependent, xanthophyll-pigment-stabilized non-photochemical quenching in the antenna of PSII in thylakoid membranes in vitro.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/srobinson/65/