Ethylene Accumulation in Flooded Plants

Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, Ohio, 44691, U.S.A.
Physiologia Plantarum (Impact Factor: 3.26). 04/2006; 36(3):236 - 241. DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.1976.tb04420.x

ABSTRACT Ethylene concentration in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) cuttings increased 5-fold within 6 h after submersion in distilled water and then declined. When only the basal half of the cutting was steeped in water, ethylene concentration was slightly over half the concentration of the completely submerged cutting. Ethylene concentration also increased when cuttings were wrapped with moist paper tissue. When wrapped with Saran transparent plastic film, ethylene concentration increased continuously for 12 h. When part of the stem of an intact plant was wrapped with Saran, ethylene also increased in that part of the stem. When wrapping was removed or submersion was discontinued, accumulated ethylene in the cuttings decreased, much faster from unwrapped cuttings than from previously submerged ones. During 3 h submersion, ethylene production rate in submerged cuttings was approximately 10% of that for the controls and over 97% ethylene escaped out of the control cuttings while only 22-52% escaped from the submerged cuttings.Water content increased during submersion and decreased when submersion was discontinued. Water content did not change significantly during wrapping, but decreased when the cuttings were unwrapped. High water content in the submerged cuttings was apparently not related to the high ethylene concentration in the cuttings.Causes of ethylene increase in flooded plants were discussed and it was concluded that one of the first and major causes is the accumulation of ethylene in flooded portions of the plants due to the blockade of ethylene escape by water.

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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown increases in the concentration of ethylene in the soil and roots of plants when the soil is water saturated (flooded). In Zea mays L. this occurs in association with an overall reduction in growth but without extensive foliar senescence and in conjunction with the development of an adventitious root system. We have assessed the possibility that ethylene may be involved in these responses to flooding. Mixtures of the gas in air were therefore supplied to the roots and stem-base of Z. mays growing in nutrient solution.Seven or 14 d exposure to ethylene (1 or 5 νl 1−1) inhibited seminal root elongation and growth in dry weight and accelerated the emergence of adventitious roots, although their final length and dry weight were depressed. Leaf extension was inhibited by 0.1,1.0 or 5.0 μl 1−1 ethylene around the roots; leaves extending rapidiy at the start of treatment were the most sensitive. Final shoot fresh and dry weights were depressed by the gas but tie shootrroot dry weighl ratio and percentage dry matter were not affected greatly. Leaf chlorosis was not observed but the concentration of phosphorus in the shoots was 26 to 31% below normal.When aeration of the nutrient solution was stopped, the concentration of dissolved oxygen declined and the concentration of ethylene in the roots increased. Similar changes occur in response to soil flooding. Root and shoot growth was slowed by non-aeration although the shootroot dry weight ratio remained unchanged. The phosphorus concentration of the shoots was depressed but there was little chlorosis or leaf death. The similarity in these respects between the effects of ethylene and non-aeration suggests that in flooded Z. mays, ethylene contributes to their development by accelerating the emergence of adventitioos roots, inhibiting phosphorus accumulation in the shoots and by a non-toxic inhibition of plant growth.
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