Industrial chicory, Cichorium intybus L., is cultivated for the production of inulin. Most varieties of industrial chicory exhibit rather poor early growth, which limits further yield improvements in their European cultivation area. The poor early growth could be due to suboptimum adaptation of the gene pool to growth at low temperatures, sometimes in combination with high light intensities, which is typical of early-spring mornings. We have used chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence to evaluate the response of young plants of the cultivar 'Hera' to low temperatures and high light intensities. Plants were grown at three temperatures: 16A degrees C (reference), 8A degrees C (intermediate), and 4A degrees C (cold stress). Light-response measurements were carried out at different light intensities in combination with different measurement temperatures. Parameters that quantify the photosystem II (PSII) operating efficiency (including PSII maximum efficiency and PSII efficiency factor) and nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) are important to evaluate the stress in terms of severity, the photosynthetics processes affected, and acclimation to lower growth temperatures. The results clearly demonstrate that in young industrial chicory plants the photosynthetic system adapts to lower growth temperatures. However, to fully understand the plant response to the stresses studied and to evaluate the long-term effect of the stress applied on the growth dynamics, the subsequent dark relaxation dynamics should also be investigated.