Environmental and Experimental Botany

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0098-8472
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Article
Thylakoid membranes isolated from either spinach or chickpea leaves were used as a model system for evaluating the capacity of cyclitols to act as cryoprotectants. The effect of freezing for 3 h at -18 degrees C on cyclic photophosphorylation and electron transport was measured. The cyclitols, ononitol, O-methyl-muco-inositol, pinitol, quebrachitol and quercitol at 50-150 mol m(-3) decreased membrane damage by freezing and thawing to a similar degree as the well known cryoprotectants sucrose and trehalose. On addition of the cryotoxic solute NaCl (100 mol m(-3)) to the test system these methylated cyclohexanhexols again provided a protection comparable to that of the two disaccharides. Quercitol (cyclohexanpentol) was not effective when added in lower concentrations (50-100 mol m(-3)) and in case of this cyclitol a ratio of membrane toxic to membrane compatible solute of 0.66 was apparently needed to prevent a loss of cyclic photophosphorylation. Little difference was observed in the results from spinach or chickpea thylakoids although these plants naturally accumulate different cyto-solutes (spinach: glycinebetaine; chickpea: pinitol).
 
Article
Sodium chloride-tolerant calli were selected from leaf-derived embryogenic calli of Dactylis glomerata L. on agar solidified medium supplemented with 200 mM NaCl, a concentration lethal to non-selected calli. Growth characteristics, water relations and proline accumulation pattern were compared in selected and non-selected lines. The objective was to gain an understanding of the mechanism(s) of tolerance in the NaCl-tolerant line. Growth in the selected line, as expressed in terms of tolerance index (ratio of fresh wt. on NaCl medium:fresh wt. on NaCl free medium x 100), was greater than that of the non-selected line at all levels of NaCl between 50 and 300 mM. There was no significant difference in proline accumulation in the selected and non-selected lines. Maintenance of turgor by osmotic adjustment was observed in the non-selected line despite decreased growth. In contrast, the selected line lost either the need or the ability to adjust osmotically. There was little or no increase in symplastic osmolality in the selected line when exposed to NaCl. Presumably, selection was made for a salt-excluding tissue that has lost the ability to accumulate solutes and adjust turgor with NaCl stress.
 
Article
Loss of nutrients following pulses of nutrient input in northern hardwood forests and the general effects of atmospheric deposition on forest communities are of concern. Uptake of nutrients by ground layer vegetation, including herbs and tree wildlings, may be important in both of these processes. We brought plants from the field (Catskill Mts, New York) and grew them under controlled environment conditions at two nutrient input levels to determine responses of Oxalis acetosella and Acer saccharum to increased nutrient input and tree wildling density. Oxalis nutrient concentration increased for many nutrients compared to field plants. Both species doubled their P concentration when P input doubled. Biomass of Oxalis was unaffected by both nutrient input level and Acer wildling density. Acer showed a similar response to increased nutrient input and its density did not affect the response of Oxalis to increased nutrient input. Results indicate that both species may be important to nutrient retention in northern hardwood forests.
 
Article
The influence of pre-measurement storage length and season of harvest of stem segment samples on hydraulic conductance and percentage embolism was determined for two tree species because no published guidelines exist concerning storage. Stem sections from Fraxinus americana L. 'Autumn Applause' (white ash) and Acer rubrum L. x saccharinum L. 'Autumn Blaze' (hybrid red maple) were collected from well-established trees in fall 1995 (October), spring 1996 (April), and summer 1996 (July). Ends of stem sections collected in the fall were either covered with wax or left exposed. Entire sections from all dates were placed in closed plastic bags to prevent desiccation during transport and subsequent storage. Stem sections were either analyzed immediately (0 storage) or held at 2 degrees C for 2 or 4 days. Hydraulic conductance before embolisms were cleared with positive pressure (initial k(h)), hydraulic conductance after embolisms were cleared (maximum k(h)), and percentage embolism were similar for all pre-embolism measurement storage lengths within each of the three seasonal sampling periods for hybrid red maple and spring- and summer-collected white ash. Fall-collected white ash samples with 0 storage had higher initial k(h), and percentage embolism increased if samples were stored. Embolism was greatest for summer-collected samples and lowest for spring-collected samples for hybrid red maple, but values were similar for white ash. Stem covering did not influence measured parameters. Our data indicate that hybrid red maple stem segments can be stored without significant loss of hydraulic conductance for up to 4 days, but white ash should not be stored in the fall. Unless maximum levels of native embolism have been reached, as determined from laboratory analysis, stem segments of species on which storage data are not available should be processed as soon as possible.
 
Article
The uptake of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) by shoots of curly kale (Brassica oleracea) showed saturation kinetics with respect to the atmospheric concentration. The kinetics are largely determined by the rate of metabolism of the absorbed H(2)S into cysteine, catalyzed by O-acetylserine (thiol)lyase, and can be described by the Michaelis-Menten equation. When B. oleracea was grown under sulfate (SO42-)-deprived conditions, plants developed sulfur (S) deficiency symptoms and H(2)S uptake kinetics were substantially altered. Shoots of SO42--deprived plants had a lower affinity to H(2)S uptake, whereas the maximal H(2)S uptake rate was higher. When SO(4)(2-)-deprived plants were simultaneously exposed to 0.2 &mgr;l l(-1) H(2)S all S deficiency symptoms disappeared and H(2)S uptake kinetics returned rapidly to values observed for S-sufficient shoots. The activity of the H(2)S-fixating enzyme O-acetylserine (thiol)lyase was hardly affected upon either prolonged H(2)S exposure or SO(4)(2-) deprivation. Evidently, the activity of O-acetylserine (thiol)lyase was not the rate-limiting step in the H(2)S uptake by shoots. The significance of the in situ availability and rate of synthesis of the substrate O-acetylserine for O-acetylserine (thiol)lyase as determining factor in the uptake kinetics of H(2)S needs further evaluation.
 
Article
Stemflow from Japanese red cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) enters forest soil at a low pH. We evaluated the responses of the root system of Japanese red cedar saplings to acidic conditions, used to simulate this situation, in two different growth media, a brown forest soil (BS) and a Yahagi sand (YS). Soils were acidified by the addition of solutions at pH 2.0, 3.0 and 5.5 (control). Root morphology, root surface area index, root respiration activity and root biomass were measured. In the pH 3.0 treatment, no significant effects were found on the root systems compared with the controls in either soil, except for a slight difference in root-tip diameter in the Yahagi sand. In the pH 2.0 treatment, the surface area index and dry weight ratios of the whole root in the Yahagi sand were significantly lower than those in the other treatments. No significant effects on the whole root were observed in the brown forest soil. These results suggest that detrimental effects of acidic solutions on the root systems would be less significant in brown forest soil, which contains humus, than in the Yahagi sand, which lacks humus. They also suggest that the threshold pH value causing visible morphological changes on the roots of Japanese red cedar saplings falls in the pH range between 2 and 3. White roots in the pH 2.0 treatment had low respiration activity and showed visible morphological changes in both soils. These responses were presumably related to the effects of excess Al in the soil solution. White roots in the pH 2.0 treatment typically produced exodermis. The results suggest that stemflow with a pH of 3.0 has no effects on the root systems of Japanese red cedar, and that the morphology of white roots was adversely affected not by treatment at pH 2.0 but by excess water-soluble Al in the soil.
 
Article
Uptake capacity of organic nitrogen was studied in solution experiments on eight grasses and two forbs growing in acid soils with relatively high nitrogen mineralisation in southern Sweden. Uptake of a mixture of amino acids (alanine, glutamine, glycine), that varied between 1.6 and 6.3 µmol g(-1) dw root h(-1), could not be explained by soil data from the species' field distributions (pH, total carbon and nitrogen, potential net mineralisation of ammonium and nitrate). The ratio between organic and inorganic nitrogen (methylamine) uptake was <0.05 for the forbs, higher for the grasses with a maximum of 1.42 for Deschampsia flexuosa. The ratio was negatively correlated with measures related to soil acidity (Ellenberg's R-value, soil nitrate and total carbon) but not, as hypothesised, with the total amount of mineralised nitrogen. The total demand on nitrogen by all components of the ecosystem would probably have described the extent to which competition among and between plants and microbes induced nitrogen limitation. In a methodological study two grasses were exposed to pH 3.8, 4.5 and 6.0 and to 50, 100 and 250 µmol l(-1) of three amino acids. Uptake was also compared between intact plants and excised roots. The treatment response varied considerably between the species which stresses the importance of studying intact plants at field-relevant pH and concentrations.
 
Article
In this study, we test the hypothesis that exposure to environmentally significant concentrations of aluminum (Al, 80 µM) causes the microfilament array of Vaucheria longicaulis var. macounii vegetative filaments to become fragmented and disorganized. Changes in F-actin organization following treatment of vegetative filaments by Al are examined using vital staining with fluorescein phalloidin. In the cortical cytoplasm of the apical zone of pH 7.5 and pH 4.5 control cells, axially aligned bundles of F-actin lead to a region of diffuse, brightly stained material. Dimly stained focal masses are noted deeper in the cytoplasm of the apical zone whereas they are absent from the zone of vacuolation. The F-actin array is visualized in the cortical cytoplasm of the region of the cell, distal to the apical tip, which exhibits vigorous cytoplasmic streaming (zone of vacuolation) as long, axially aligned bundles with which chloroplasts and mitochondria associate. Thirty minutes following treatment with aluminum, and for the next 8-16 h, the F-actin array is progressively disorganized. The longitudinally aligned F-actin array becomes fragmented. Aggregates of F-actin, such as short rods, amorphous and stellate F-actin focal masses, curved F-actin bundles and F-actin rings replace the control array. Each of these structures may occur in association with chloroplasts or independently with no apparent association with organelles. Images are recorded which indicate that F-actin rings not associated with organelles may self-assemble by successive bundling of F-actin fragments. The fragmentation and bundling of F-actin in cells of V. longicaulis upon treatment with aluminum resembles those reported after diverse forms of cell disturbance and supports the hypothesis that aluminum-induced changes in the F-actin array may be a calcium-mediated response to stress.
 
Article
Minirhizotrons provide a nondestructive, in situ method for directly viewing and studying fine roots. Although many insights into fine roots have been gained using minirhizotrons, a review of the literature indicates a wide variation in how minirhizotrons and minirhizotron data are used. Tube installation is critical, and steps must be taken to insure good soil/tube contact without compacting the soil. Ideally, soil adjacent to minirhizotrons will mimic bulk soil. Tube installation causes some degree of soil disturbance and has the potential to create artifacts in subsequent root data and analysis. We therefore recommend a waiting period between tube installation and image collection of 6-12 months to allow roots to recolonize the space around the tubes and to permit nutrients to return to pre-disturbance levels. To make repeated observations of individual roots for the purposes of quantifying their dynamic properties (e.g. root production, turnover or lifespan), tubes should be secured to prevent movement. The frequency of image collection depends upon the root parameters being measured or calculated and the time and resources available for collecting images and extracting data. However, long sampling intervals of 8 weeks or more can result in large underestimates of root dynamic properties because more fine roots will be born and die unobserved between sampling events. A sampling interval of 2 weeks or less reduces these underestimates to acceptable levels. While short sample intervals are desirable, they can lead to a potential trade-off between the number of minirhizotron tubes used and the number of frames analyzed per tube. Analyzing fewer frames per minirhizotron tube is one way to reduce costs with only minor effects on data variation. The quality of minirhizotron data should be assessed and reported; procedures for quantifying the quality of minirhizotron data are presented here. Root length is a more sensitive metric for dynamic root properties than the root number. To make minirhizotron data from separate experiments more easily comparable, idiosyncratic units should be avoided. Volumetric units compatible with aboveground plant measures make minirhizotron-based estimates of root standing crop, production and turnover more useful. Methods for calculating the volumetric root data are discussed and an example presented. Procedures for estimating fine root lifespan are discussed.
 
Article
Differential responses to elevated atmospheric CO(2) concentration exhibited by different plant functional types may alter competition for above- and belowground resources in a higher CO(2) world. Because C allocation to roots is often favored over C allocation to shoots in plants grown with CO(2) enrichment, belowground function of forest ecosystems may change significantly. We established an outdoor facility to examine the effects of elevated CO(2) on root dynamics in artificially constructed communities of five early successional forest species: (1) a C(3) evergreen conifer (longleaf pine, Pinus palustris Mill.); (2) a C(4) monocotyledonous bunch grass (wiregrass, Aristida stricta Michx.); (3) a C(3) broadleaf tree (sand post oak, Quercus margaretta); (4) a C(3) perennial herbaceous legume (rattlebox, Crotalaria rotundifolia Walt. ex Gemel); and (5) an herbaceous C(3) dicotyledonous perennial (butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa L.). These species are common associates in early successional longleaf pine savannahs throughout the southeastern USA and represent species that differ in life-form, growth habit, physiology, and symbiotic relationships. A combination of minirhizotrons and soil coring was used to examine temporal and spatial rooting dynamics from October 1998 to October 1999. CO(2)-enriched plots exhibited 35% higher standing root crop length, 37% greater root length production per day, and 47% greater root length mortality per day. These variables, however, were enhanced by CO(2) enrichment only at the 10-30 cm depth. Relative root turnover (flux/standing crop) was unchanged by elevated CO(2). Sixteen months after planting, root biomass of pine was 62% higher in elevated compared to ambient CO(2) plots. Conversely, the combined biomass of rattlebox, wiregrass, and butterfly weed was 28% greater in ambient compared to high CO(2) plots. There was no difference in root biomass of oaks after 16 months of exposure to elevated CO(2). Using root and shoot biomass as a metric, longleaf pine realized the greatest and most consistent benefit from exposure to elevated CO(2). This finding suggests that the ability of longleaf pine to compete with sand post oak, a common deciduous tree competitor, and wiregrass, the dominant understory herbaceous species, in regenerating ecosystems may be significantly enhanced by rising atmospheric CO(2) concentrations.
 
Article
Tradescantia pallida cv. purpurea, a popular garden plant in Brazil, was used for the Tradescantia micronucleus (Trad-MCN) assay. In situ monitoring of the genotoxicity of air pollutants was carried out by sentinel approach, using the plant grown in the field or using the plants in pots which were carried to the monitoring sites. Two highly polluted sites, in São Paulo city (Cerqueira Cesar and Congonhas) and two rural sites (the cities of Pirassununga, 200 km and Caucaia do Alto, 50 km from São Paulo, respectively) were chosen for this study, in order to determine the gradient difference of the air pollution levels. Sentinel plants in Congonhas site presented the highest frequency of micronuclei (4.4%), in comparison with 2.2 and 2.3% found in plants from Pirassununga and Cerqueira Cesar sites, respectively (Kruskal-Wallis; P<0.020). Significant increases (F test; P<0.0001) in the frequency of micronuclei were observed in plants exposed in the polluted urban sites (Cerqueira Cesar: 5.7%; Congonhas: 7.1% and Caucaia do Alto: 2.3%). The increase in the frequency of micronuclei observed indicates the potential risk of mutagenicity in presence of high concentrations of pollutants.
 
Article
To test the hypothesis that growth-CO(2) concentrations affect stress susceptibility, leaves of poplar trees (Populus alba x tremula) grown under ambient or about twofold ambient CO(2) concentrations were subjected to chilling temperatures at high light intensities or were exposed to paraquat. Photosynthesis was less diminished and electrolyte leakage was lower in stressed leaves from poplar trees grown under elevated [CO(2)] as compared with those from ambient [CO(2)]. Severe stress caused pigment and protein degradation but to a lower extent in leaves from elevated as compared with those from ambient [CO(2)]. The protection was accompanied by rapid induction of superoxide dismutase activities (EC 1.15.1.1). Ascorbate and glutathione-related detoxification systems as well as catalase (EC 1.11.1.6) activities were less resistant than superoxide dismutases and declined in stress-exposed leaves from poplars grown under elevated [CO(2)] to a similar extent as in those from trees grown under ambient [CO(2)]. These results suggest that the CO(2)-mediated amelioration of stress was confined to SOD and limited since the destruction of H(2)O(2)-degrading systems was not prevented.
 
Article
Research was conducted on Aloe vera, a traditional medicinal plant, to investigate the effects of light on growth, carbon allocation, and the concentrations of organic solutes, including soluble carbohydrates and aloin. The plants were vegetatively propagated and grown under three irradiances: full sunlight, partial (30% full sunlight), and deep shade (10% full sunlight) for 12-18 months. After 1 year of growth, five plants from each treatment were harvested to determine total above- and below ground dry mass. Four plants from the full sunlight and the partial shade treatments were harvested after 18 months to assess the soluble carbohydrate, organic acid and aloin concentrations of the clear parenchyma gel and the yellow leaf exudate, separately. Plants grown under full sunlight produced more numerous and larger axillary shoots, resulting in twice the total dry mass than those grown under partial shade. The dry mass of the plants grown under deep shade was 8.6% that of plants grown under full sunlight. Partial shade increased the number and length of leaves produced on the primary shoot, but leaf dry mass was still reduced to 66% of that in full sunlight. In contrast, partial and deep shade reduced root dry mass to 28 and 13%, respectively, of that under full sunlight, indicating that carbon allocation to roots was restricted under low light conditions. When plants were sampled 6 months later, there were only minor treatment effects on the concentration of soluble carbohydrates and aloin in the leaf exudate and gel. Soluble carbohydrate concentrations were greater in the gel than in the exudate, with glucose the most abundant soluble carbohydrate. Aloin was present only in the leaf exudate and higher irradiance did not induce a higher concentration. Limitation in light availability primarily affected total dry mass production and allocation, without substantial effects on either primary or secondary carbon metabolites.
 
Article
Aluminum-induced cell death was investigated in root-tip cells of barley (Hordeum vulgare). The growth of roots in 0.1-50 mM Al treatments was inhibited after 8 h treatments, and could not be recovered after 24 h recovery culture without Al. Viable detection with fluorescein diacetate-propidium iodide (FDA-PI) staining shows that most of the root-tip cells have lost viability. These results suggest that the irreversible inhibition of root growth after 8 h Al treatments or 24 h recovery culture is mainly caused by cell death. DNA ladders occurred in root tips only after 8 h Al treatments (0.1-1.0 mM), but no apoptotic bodies in root tips were observed. Thus, the cell death caused by Al stress is likely to be Al-induced programmed cell death (PCD). The reactive oxygen species (ROS) in root-tip cells measured by ultraweak luminescence indicated that the oxidation status in root-tip cells basically ceased after exposure to 10-50 mM Al for 24 h, but was very violent in the root-tip cells treated with 0.1-1.0 mM for 24 h. Exposure to 0.1-1.0 mM Al for 3-12 h led to ROS burst. Therefore, our results suggest that 0.1-1.0 mM Al treatments for 8 h induce cell death (Al-induced PCD) possibly via a ROS-activated signal transduction pathway, whereas 10-50 mM Al treatments may cause necrosis in the root-tip cells. These results have an important role for further studies on the mechanism of Al toxicity in plants.
 
Article
Relationships between growth and different gas exchange characteristics of two amphidiploid salt tolerant species, Brassica napus, and B. carinata with respect to their salt sensitive parents, B. oleracea, and B. nigra were investigated. Twenty three-day old plants of these four species along with those of another amphidiploid moderately salt tolerant B. juncea (developed by hybridization of diploids, B. campestris and B. nigra), and a diploid moderately salt tolerant, B. campestris, were subjected for 28 days to salinized sand culture containing 0, 100 or 200 mol NaCl m(-3) in Hoagland's nutrient solution. The species B. napus and B. carinata produced significantly greater shoot fresh and dry matters than their parents under saline conditions. A close association was found between growth, and assimilation rate for all species differing in degree of salt tolerance. Stomatal conductance (g(s)) was reduced due to salt stress in all species but this variable had no significant correlation with assimilation rate (A). However, the amphidiploid salt tolerant species, B. napus and B. carinata had significantly greater photosynthetic rate, water use efficiency (A/E), intrinsic water use efficiency (A/g(s)) than those of their diploid parents. In conclusion, high salt tolerance of the two amphidiploid species, B. napus and B. carinata was associated with a high assimilation rate, water use efficiency and intrinsic water use efficiency but there was little association of the tolerance of these species with stomatal conductance, leaf water potential or transpiration rate (E).
 
Article
Levels of endogenous glycine betaine in the leaves were measured in response to cold acclimation, water stress and exogenous ABA application in Arabidopsis thaliana. The endogenous glycine betaine level in the leaves increased sharply during cold acclimation treatment as plants gained freezing tolerance. When glycine betaine (10 mM) was applied exogenously to the plants as a foliar spray, the freezing tolerance increased from -3.1 to -4.5 degrees C. In addition, when ABA (1 mM) was applied exogenously, the endogenous glycine betaine level and the freezing tolerance in the leaves increased. However, the increase in the leaf glycine betaine level induced by ABA was only about half of that by the cold acclimation treatment. Furthermore, when plants were subjected to water stress (leaf water potential of approximately -1.6 MPa), the endogenous leaf glycine betaine level increased by about 18-fold over that in the control plants. Water stress lead to significant increase in the freezing tolerance, which was slightly less than that induced by the cold acclimation treatment. The results suggest that glycine betaine is involved in the induction of freezing tolerance in response to cold acclimation, ABA, and water stress in Arabidopsis plants.
 
Article
Symplastic growth of plant organs may be described by a continuous growth tensor field. In tensorial analysis of meristems, the trajectories of periclinal and anticlinal cell walls represent trajectories of the principal directions of growth (PDGs); this follows from the maintenance of mutual orthogonality between periclinal and anticlinal wall trajectories during growth. Periclinal and anticlinal cell divisions are also oriented in the principal planes of growth. The growth tensor for the root apex is specified in such a way that the principal directions of the tensor fit the pattern of periclinal and anticlinal walls in the apex, and that the grid formed by material particles aligned along PDG trajectories preserve this alignment during growth. Two growth tensors are formulated--one giving a maximum and the other giving a minimum of the volumetric relative elemental growth rate at the region of the initial cell(s). Temporal sequences of deformation of a grid formed by lines coinciding with the principal directions of growth are shown. The formation of cellular patterns in root apices is simulated. Two types of patterns are obtained: one with an apical cell and merophytes, and another with files of cells converging towards a quiescent centre.
 
Article
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) was grown in both open-field and outdoor potted conditions in Southern Italy, and irrigated with water having electrical conductivity ranging between 0.9 and 15.6 dS m(-1) obtained by different NaCl concentrations. The aim of the work was to study the leaf area and photosynthetic responses of sunflower to mild salt stress. The response curve (A/c(i)) of assimilation (A) to leaf internal CO(2) concentration (c(i)) was used to determine leaf gas-exchange parameters, in order to evaluate stomatal and non-stomatal limitations to photosynthesis in relation to salt stress. In the field, a reduction of 19% in leaf area expansion occurred, while no correlation was observed between Psi(l) and stomatal conductance to water vapour (g(sw)) ranging between 0.76 and 1.35 mol m(-2) s(-1). This result was also evident at a higher salinity level reached in the pot experiment where leaf osmotic potential (psi(s)) varied from -1.35 to -2.67 MPa as compared with the field experiment, where psi(s) ranged from -1.15 to -1.42 MPa. Considering the two experiments as a unique data set, the assimilation rate, the stomatal conductance to CO(2) (g(sc)) and the sensitivity of A to c(i) variation (g*) were not significantly influenced by salinity in the whole range of psi(s). As a consequence, the stomatal and non-stomatal limitations to photosynthesis were not affected by salt treatment, averaging around 20 and 80%, respectively. The variation in A (from 44 to 29 µmol m(-2) s(-1)) was paralleled by the variation in g(sc) (from 0.47 to 0.84 mol m(-2) s(-1)), with a remarkable constancy of both c(i) (200+/-12.5 µmol mol(-1)) and normalized water-use efficiency (5+/-0.7 µmol mmol(-1) kPa), showing the optimal behaviour of the plant processes. These findings indicate that, under mild salt stress, the same as observed under water deficit, sunflower controls assimilation mainly by modulating leaf area rather than by stomatal closure, and that non-stomatal limitation of photosynthesis was not affected at all by the level of salinity reached in this study.
 
Article
Tropisms and other movements of a plant organ result from alterations in local rates of cell elongation and a consequent development of a growth differential between its opposite sides. Relative elemental rates of elongation (RELELs) are useful to characterize the pattern of growth along and round an organ. We assume that the value of the RELEL at a given point is dependent on distance from the tip and that the distribution of values along the organ surface can be characterized in terms of the spread and the position of the maximum value. A computer model is described which accommodates these parameters and simulates tropic curvatures due to differential growth. Additional regulatory functions help to return the simulated organ to its original orientation. Particular attention is given to the simulation of root gravitropism because here not only do each of the various growth and regulatory parameters have a known biological counterpart, but some can also be given an actual quantitative value. The growth characteristics relate to the biophysical properties of cells in the elongation zone of the root, while the regulatory functions relate to aspects of the graviperception and transmission systems. We believe that, given a suitably flexible model, computer simulation is a powerful means of characterizing, in a quantitative way, the contribution of each parameter to the elongation of plant organs in general and their tropisms in particular.
 
Article
Using iron-deprived (-Fe) chlorotic as well as green iron-deficient (5 μM Fe) and iron-sufficient supplied (50 μM Fe) leaves of young hydroponically reared Brassica napus plants, we explored iron deficiency effects on triggering programmed cell death (PCD) phenomena. Iron deficiency increased superoxide anion but decreased hydroxyl radical (•OH) formation (TBARS levels). Impaired photosystem II efficiency led to hydrogen peroxide accumulation in chloroplasts; NADPH oxidase activity, however, remained on the same level in all treatments. Non-autolytic PCD was observed especially in the chlorotic leaf of iron-deprived plants, to a lesser extent in iron-deficient plants. It correlated with higher DNAse-, alkaline protease- and caspase-3-like activities, DNA fragmentation and chromatin condensation, hydrogen peroxide accumulation and higher superoxide dismutase activity. A significant decrease in catalase activity together with rising levels of dehydroascorbic acid indicated a strong disturbance of the redox homeostasis, which, however, was not caused by •OH formation in concordance with the fact that iron is required to catalyse the Fenton reaction leading to •OH generation. This study documents the chain of events that contributes to the development of non-autolytic PCD in advanced stages of iron deficiency in B. napus leaves.
 
Article
During phototropic curvature, indolyl-3-acetic acid (IAA) remains evenly distributed in the hypocotyl of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) and in the oat (Avena sativa L.) coleoptile. At the irradiated side, growth inhibiting substances accumulate. In sunflower, basipetal movement of a growth factor is not involved, since the top of the seedling can be covered or removed without affecting the photo-tropic response; this response, moreover, is independent of the rate of elongation growth. The chemical nature of the growth-inhibiting substances is only partly known. In the hypocotyl they occur in the neutral fraction: in sunflower cis-xanthoxin is one of them, in radish (Raphanus sativus L.) cis- and trans-raphanusanins, and possibly raphanusamide, are involved. The inhibitor(s) in the oat coleoptile are acidic. During curvature, their amount remains rather constant but the distribution changes with an accumulation at the irradiated side. It is concluded that phototropic curvature is brought about by an accumulation, at the irradiated side, of growth-inhibiting substances that unilaterally reduce cell elongation even though the IAA distribution is uniform.
 
Article
Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings were grown in competition with native weeds using soil and seed bank collected from recently chopped and burned areas near Appomattox, Virginia. One-year-old seedlings were planted and weeds allowed to germinate from the native seed bank while being exposed to CO(2) (ambient and elevated - approximately 700 ppm) and water (water stressed and well watered) treatments for approximately one growing season in a greenhouse. Elevated CO(2) did not influence total weed biomass; however, C(3) weed community development was favored over C(4) weed community development in elevated CO(2) regardless of water availability. This suggests that weed community composition may shift toward C(3) plants in a future elevated CO(2) atmosphere. Pine growth was significantly greater in the well watered and elevated CO(2) treatments compared to the water stressed and ambient treatments, respectively, even though they were competing with native herbaceous weeds for resources. There was a significant water and CO(2) interaction for pine root:shoot ratio. Under elevated CO(2), root:shoot ratio was significantly greater in the water stressed treatment than the well watered treatment. In contrast, there was no significant difference in the root:shoot ratio under the ambient CO(2) treatment for either water treatment. These results suggest that loblolly pine seedlings will respond favorably in an elevated CO(2) atmosphere, even under dry conditions and competing with herbaceous weeds.
 
Article
Oat (Avena sativa) plants were grown in the field near the urban area of Valencia, Eastern Spain. The data on air quality showed that ozone was the main phytotoxic pollutant present in ambient air reaching a 7-h mean of 46 nl l(-1) and a maximum hourly peak of 322 nl l(-1). The effect of ambient ozone on PSII activity was examined by measurements of chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence. In leaves with visible symptoms, the function of PSII was changed at high actinic irradiances. Nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) was higher and quantum efficiency of PSII (Phi(PSII)), photochemical quenching (q(p)), quantum efficiency of excitation capture and PSII electron flow (F(v)'/F(m)') were lower. An enhanced susceptibility to photoinhibition was observed for symptom-exhibiting leaves compared to leaves that remain free of visible symptoms. Both the lowering of photosynthesis efficiency and the increased sensitivity to photoinhibition probably contribute to reduced crop yield in the field, to different extents, depending on growth conditions. To our knowledge, this is the first report that demonstrates that quantum efficiency of exciton trapping in PSII is associated with foliar injury in oat leaves in response to ambient concentration of ozone.
 
Article
Two field experiments in 1993 and 1994 as well as a laboratory germination experiment were conducted on the Egyptian cotton cultivar Giza 75 (Gossypium barbadense) to determine the effect of six concentrations of kinetin (6-furfurylaminopurine) ranging from 0 to 10.0 mg l(-1) and three different methods of application: (A) seeds were soaked for 24 h before germination (laboratory experiment) or sowing (field experiment) in solutions of different kinetin concentration, (B) cotton plants were sprayed twice with different kinetin concentrations at 60 and 75 days after sowing (DAS) during the square initiation and the beginning of bolling stages, at volume solution of 480 l ha(-1). (C) Seeds were soaked in kinetin solutions before sowing as method A. In addition cotton plants were sprayed twice as method B with the same kinetin concentrations. Kinetin application improved seed viability and seedling vigour as shown by lengths of the hypocotyl, radicle and the entire seedling, as well as seedling fresh weight. Moreover, significant increases were recorded in the number of open bolls/plant, boll weight, lint and seed indices, seed cotton yield/plant, and seed cotton and lint yields/plot. The highest means were obtained at 5 mg kinetin l(-1) concentration and under method C of application. Treatments generally, had no significant effects on lint percentage, yield earliness and fiber properties. These results show that, the use of kinetin at 5 mg l(-1) for pre-soaking seeds before planting and spraying cotton plants at 60 and 75 DAS with the same concentration could improve cotton germination, seed cotton and lint yields.
 
Article
Senescence is a highly regulated process which is under genetic control. In monocarpic plants, the onset of fruit development is the most important factor initiating the senescence process. During senescence, a large fraction of plant nutrients is reallocated away from vegetative tissues into generative tissues. Senescence may therefore be regarded as a highly effective salvage mechanism to save nutrients for the offspring. CO(2) enrichment, besides increasing growth and yield of C(3) plants, has often been shown to accelerate leaf senescence. C(3) plants grown under elevated CO(2) experience alterations in their nutrient relations. In particular their tissue nitrogen concentrations are always lower after exposure to elevated CO(2). We used a monocarpic C(3) crop - spring barley (Hordeum vulgare cv. Alexis) - grown in open-top field chambers to test the effects of CO(2) enrichment on growth and yield, on nitrogen acquisition and redistribution, and on the senescence process in flag leaves, at two applications of nitrogen fertilizer. CO(2) enrichment (650 vs. 366 µmol mol(-1)) caused an increase both in biomass and in grain yield by 38% (average of the two fertilizer applications) which was due to increased tillering. Total nitrogen uptake of the crops was not affected by CO(2) treatment but responded solely to the N supply. Nitrogen concentrations in grains and straw were significantly lower (-33 and -24%) in plants grown at elevated CO(2). Phenological development was not altered by CO(2) until anthesis. However, progress of flag leaf senescence as assessed by chlorophyll content, protein content and content of large and small subunit of RubisCO and of cytochrome b559 was enhanced under elevated CO(2) concentrations by approximately 4 days. We postulate that CO(2) enhanced flag leaf senescence in barley crops by increasing the nitrogen sink capacity of the grains.
 
Article
Markedly damaged stands have been observed in Siebold's beech (Fagus crenata) forests on the Tanzawa Mountains, Japan, which are located close to densely populated and heavily industrial areas. We measured the delta(13)C records for the past 50 years (1944-1997) in wood cellulose sampled from relatively healthy trees in declining forests on Mt. Hinokiboramaru (1600 m). This may provide information on the history of stresses related to environmental changes, which have caused the decline symptoms. The results showed that, for all of the trees studied, wood delta(13)C has decreased with time. Also, the difference in delta(13)C among trees grew abruptly after the mid-1960s, which almost coincides with the time when the decline symptoms were markedly observed. Some trees with large reduction of wood delta(13)C exhibited the strong decreases in radial growth. This suggests that the reduction of tree growth may have been more greatly influenced by decreasing carboxylation rate than by stomatal limitation. It is unlikely that water stress and SO(2) and O(3) stresses have induced the growth reduction, because those stresses cause increasing wood delta(13)C. This is supported by the facts that wet conditions and relatively low SO(2) and O(3) levels have been observed near Mt. Hinokiboramaru. In addition, analyses of wood Ca showed no evidence that acid fog and soil acidification have affected the wood delta(13)C and growth through effects on the nutrient uptake of trees. However, what type of stresses have induced the large reduction of wood delta(13)C and growth for some of the trees studied remains unknown because of the lack of sufficient data for evaluation. In contrast, lesser reduction of wood delta(13)C from the other trees may be related to an increase in the plant water-use efficiency with increasing atmospheric CO(2) concentration.
 
Article
The intrinsic control of uniform and differential growth of plant cells can be traced to a small number of physical parameters. These are cell wall rheology, membrane and tissue hydraulic conductivity, and membrane and tissue solute transport. Water and solute effects are manifested as alterations in turgor pressure. Environmental and biochemical processes always channel their effects through one or more of these parameters. Technical developments such as the pressure probe and Instron tensiometer, together with a reappraisal of older techniques, are beginning to allow assessment of the relative roles of these factors. Although the importance of cell wall rheology is becoming increasingly apparent, there is still insufficient information to allow generalized conclusions regarding the role of turgor pressure in differential growth. This review considers attempts to correlate these parameters with observed anatomical growth patterns.
 
Article
A very wide range of plant organ movements have been described and yet it is not clear how each of them is related to the others. This uncertainty has had two undesirable consequences. Firstly, some workers have accepted the idea of a vague unity in the area and have subsequently been misled by information obtained in one system and applied without adequate justification to a study of a quite different system. Secondly, some researchers have evoked a possible diversity to explain why a particular mechanistic explanation may continue to be valid even when the model fails to explain events of a very similar nature in a slightly different system. We argue that this confusion has resulted from a classification of organ movements which has been based on functional rather than on mechanistic considerations. Mechanistic unity is to be expected on evolutionary grounds. This unity, however, may apply only to certain elements of the stimulus-response chain, at certain levels of organization. It follows from this that in seeking this unity, comparisons should be made between equivalent elements of the stimulus-response chain at the same level of organization in different systems. Only when this is done will theories built around the concept of unity provoke meaningful discussion.
 
Article
Development of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) squares (i.e. floral buds with bracts) is fundamental for yield formation. A 2-year field study was conducted to determine dry weight (DW) accumulations of cotton leaves, floral bracts and floral buds, and the changes in concentrations of non-structural carbohydrates (hexoses, sucrose and starch) in these tissues during square ontogeny as affected by fruiting positions within the plant canopy. During square development, DW accumulation of a subtending sympodial leaf and floral bracts followed a sigmoid growth curve with increasing square age, whereas the DW increase of a floral bud followed an exponential curve. Main-stem node (Node 8, 10 or 12) and branch position (proximal vs. distal) within a plant canopy significantly affected DW accumulations of the leaf, bracts and floral bud. Starch was the dominant non-structural carbohydrate in the three tissues, accounting for more than 65% of total non-structural carbohydrates (TNC). Subtending leaf TNC increased as square age increased. The bracts exhibited a smaller change in TNC than leaves. Non-structural carbohydrate concentration was the lowest in 10-day-old floral buds, and had little change during the first 15 days of square development. Within 5 days prior to anthesis, the floral-bud TNC increased dramatically, tripling at the time of floral anthesis compared with 15-day-old floral buds. Square age and fruiting position significantly affected non-structural carbohydrate concentrations of subtending leaves, bracts, and floral buds. The correlation did not exist between final boll retention and non-structural carbohydrate concentrations of floral buds at different fruiting positions under normal growth conditions. The pattern of floral-bud non-structural carbohydrates during square ontogeny suggests that major events in carbohydrate metabolism occur just prior to anthesis.
 
Article
A simple method to determine the toxicity of fungicides on male gametophyte in Brassica campestris subsp. oleiferae is described. The calculation of fungicide concentration used in the test is derived from doses used in field application. The expression of regression curves and calculation of regression equations require the logarithmic transformation of fungicide concentration. The range of the sensitivity of the method is very wide. The minimal concentration detected as significantly different from control ranges from 1.7 to 7.0 pg of the active compound. Fungicides declared as non-toxic for plants in field tests were cytotoxic for male gametophyte development. The synergistic action of more than one active compound resulted in higher toxicity.
 
Article
Cactaceae are a diverse group of plants with a wide variety of morphologies and reproductive strategies. Many species have segmented stems in which terminal cladodes may be separated from main stem cladodes with varying amounts of resistance. Previous results demonstrated that lignified xylem cells in tensile portions of stem joints provide the main resistance to separation of cladodes within cactus plants. The purpose of the present study was to determine if stem joints of Opuntia laevis would produce additional lignified xylem cells in response to additional externally applied stresses. Normal average stress levels, which accompany the addition of a new cladode, were applied to 12 plants. In contrast, double the average stress levels were applied to 13 other plants. After exposure to the two stress regimens for 6 months, the amount and location of lignified xylem cells in joint segments were similar for both stress treatments. So, although the results support the hypothesis that lignified xylem cells act as the main resistance to stress at joints of cladodes, doubling the normal amount of applied stress was insufficient to alter the amount or location of lignified xylem cells in stem joints. These results indicate that normal amounts of lignified xylem cells can resist up to two times the normal amount of stress for 6 months without producing additional lignified xylem cells.
 
Article
Relationships between flag leaf carbon isotope discrimination (Delta), water status parameters, residual transpiration (RT) and stomatal density (SD) were examined on a collection of 144 durum wheat accessions. Associations between Delta, grain yield (GY) and harvest index (HI) were also studied. The field trial was conducted under Mediterranean conditions. The crop cycle was characterised by a period of drought from February until maturity. A broad range of values we obtained for Delta (16.5-19.9 per thousand) and other physiological traits. Flag leaf Delta was positively and significantly correlated with both HI and GY. Delta was better correlated with HI than with GY, which suggests that higher Delta values indicate higher efficiency of carbon partitioning to the kernel, leading to higher GY. Delta was found positively related with RT and negatively related with SD. This relationship may indicate a possible SD component of RT due to the association between conductance and SD. Strong positive correlations were found between Delta and water status parameters, suggesting that Delta may provide a good indication of plant water status in durum wheat under rainfed Mediterranean conditions.
 
Article
Catasetum fimbriatum is an epiphytic orchid from South America that has been used for 15 years as a model plant for metabolic and developmental studies in our laboratory. In this work, C. fimbriatum plants were aseptically grown with 6 mol m(-3) of either glutamine or inorganic nitrogen forms (NO(3)(-):NH(4)(+) ratios). The highest biomass accumulation was found in plants supplied with glutamine; no significant difference was observed in plants incubated in the presence of inorganic nitrogen sources. Nitrogen assimilation was limited in the presence NO(3)(-) as a sole nitrogen source. C. fimbriatum did not accumulate NO(3)(-) and very low rates of in vivo nitrate reductase activity were observed. Most nitrate reductase activity (70%) was detected in the 2 cm apical roots. Nitrate-treated plants exhibited relatively lower amounts of free amino-N, chlorophyll and free NH(4)(+) contents and higher soluble sugar contents than the NH(4)(+)-treated plants. While shoot glutamine synthetase activity was only slightly affected by nitrogen sources, root glutamine synthetase activity was not modified by any nitrogen form. Glutamate dehydrogenase-NADH activity in shoot tissues was not influenced by any nitrogen source. However, the glutamate dehydrogenase-NADH activity in roots was enhanced when NH(4)(+) tissue contents was augmented by increasing NH(4)(+) in the medium and by the presence of glutamine. Our results strongly suggest that organic nitrogen and NH(4)(+) are probably the most important nitrogen sources to C. fimbriatum plants.
 
Article
The impact of experimentally sprayed aqueous nickel solution on the concentrations of potassium, calcium, magnesium and nickel in three horizontal strata (top, 0-20 mm; middle, 20-40 mm; and base, 40-60 mm) of the cushion-forming lichen Cladina stellaris was investigated. The experimental nickel deposition range used corresponded with that from the pristine forests of the Finnish border to polluted industrial sites of Russian Kola Peninsula (0-1000 mg Ni(2+) m(-2) year(-1)). The lichen mat retained ca. 31-66% of the nickel deposited during two growing seasons and the relative retention efficiency was highest at the low deposition end. The concentrations of cations in lichen thalli were significantly reduced only after the highest nickel deposition. Furthermore, the separate horizontal strata responded differently to nickel exposure indicating that the cation exchange sites of the top stratum were not completely saturated by nickel even after the most severe treatment. However, nickel deposited in high doses caused considerable reduction in potassium concentration indicating damage to cell membranes. Episodically deposited high concentrations of nickel can probably affect membrane integrity before detectable changes in total concentrations of cations in the lichen thallus take place. Thus, ratios of total concentrations of cations in the lichen thallus are fairly insensitive to nickel deposition, which reduces the risk of compounding effects when the ratios are used to indicate long-term acid deposition in areas with multiple pollution problems such as Kola Peninsula.
 
Article
The different weight-number strategies of seed production displayed by individuals of a Mediterranean fire-prone plant species (Cistus ladanifer) were investigated in relation to seed germination responses to pre-germination heating. A control (no heating), a high temperature during a short exposure time (100 degrees C during 5 min) and a high temperature during a long exposure time (100 degrees C during 15 min) were applied to seeds from different individual plants with different mean seed weight. These pre-germination treatments resemble natural germination scenarios for the studied species, absence of fire, typical Mediterranean shrub fire, and severe fire with high fuel load. Seed germination was related to heat treatments and seed mass. Seed heating increased the proportion of seeds germinating compared with the control treatment. Mean seed weight was positively correlated to the proportion of germinated seeds but only within heat treatments. These results suggest that in periods without fire, the relative contributions to the population dynamics are equal for all seeds, regardless of their mass, whereas heavier seeds would be the main contribution after wildfire events. Since lighter seeds can be produced in higher quantities than heavier ones within a given fruit, the number of seedlings produced per fruit depended strongly on the germination conditions. In the absence of wildfire, fruits producing lighter seeds gave rise to more seedlings; nevertheless, they were numerically exceeded by those producing heavy seeds after a wildfire. The implications of these results are discussed in relation to their consequences on the population dynamics of this species, considering also additional information on stand flammability and changes in seed mass with plant age.
 
Article
A controlled environment system, termed the Phyto-Nutri-Tron (PNT), has been established to study whole plant ecophysiological responses to multiple environmental factors. The PNT is a computer-controlled highly flexible growth facility with independent control of the shoot and the root environment. The facility consists of two growth cabinets each containing four separate hydroponic growth systems. The growth cabinets can be used as assimilation chambers with individual control of temperature, humidity, light, CO2 and monitoring of O2. The hydroponic growth systems are connected to nutrient supply units with disinfection systems and individual control of temperature, pH and oxygen. The ionic composition of the solutions has automated feedback control through a PO4 autoanalyzer and a flow injection analyzer which also analyzes NH4+, NO2- and NO3-. Other ions are automatically monitored by ICP-AES. The system has automated calibration procedures of the analytical equipment and prolonged studies of plant growth can be performed under constant environmental conditions. This paper describes the design and construction of the PNT, the results of a number of tests showing the degree of control of environmental factors and the results of a comparative study on NH4+ and NO3- uptake kinetics by Juncus effusus conducted in the PNT demonstrate the use of the PNT in ecophysiological studies.
 
Standard curve of predawn leaf water potential ( c w ) as a function of substrate available water content ( H ) obtained 
Effect of drought stress expressed as substrate water content ( H ) (A), as predawn water potential ( c w ) (B), as leaf 
Effect of drought stress expressed as substrate water content ( H ) (A), as predawn water potential ( c w ) (B), as leaf RWC (C), on photosynthetic assimilation rate (% m mol CO 2 
Net assimilation rate (A) versus stomatal conductance (Gs), measured on drought-stressed leaves of P . 6 ulgaris cultivars. A320 (   ---), Carioca ( -·-·-), Ouro Negro ( – – –), Xodo  ́ ( 2 — —). 
Osmotic potentials (c o MPa) of leaves in four cultivars of P. 6ulgaris with or without exposure to water stress for 10 days
Article
Relatively little ecophysiological research has been conducted to determine the responses to drought of Phaseolus vulgaris. Four bean cultivars (cvs.) from Brazil, A320, Carioca, Ouro Negro and Xodó were submitted to an imposed water deficit in order to evaluate the importance of some adaptive mechanisms of drought resistance through the analysis of growth parameters, water status, gas exchange and indicators of tolerance mechanisms at the cellular level. During the drought treatment, relative growth rates were more reduced for A320 and Xodó than Carioca and Ouro Negro. A320 closed its stomata very rapidly and complete stomatal closure was obtained at Psi(w)=-0.6 MPa, in contrast to the other cvs. where stomata were fully closed only at Psi(w)=-0.9 MPa. Net assimilation rates were closely related to stomatal conductances. Mechanisms at the cellular level appeared to be mostly important for higher tolerance. Carioca and Ouro Negro, when compared to A320 and Xodó, were characterized by having better drought tolerance mechanisms and higher tissue water retention capacity leading to a better growth under water deficits. The leaf dehydration rates of those cvs. were slow whereas those of the drought sensitive cvs. were rapid. The results were confirmed by the electrolyte leakage test and leaf osmotic potential measurements, which indicated higher membrane resistance and osmotic adjustment in the two tolerant cvs. Carioca and Ouro Negro. It appears from this study that despite being cultivated in the same geographical region, the four cvs. of P. vulgaris displayed somewhat different drought adaptive capacities for prolonged drought during the vegetative phase.
 
Article
Field studies were conducted to determine the potential for alterations in physiology and the intraspecific variation in sensitivity of 20 wheat (Triticum aestivum) cultivars to enhanced ultraviolet-B (UV-B, 280-315 nm) radiation. The supplemental UV-B radiation was 5 kJ m(-2), simulating a depletion of 20% stratospheric ozone. Out of 20 wheat cultivars (from South China, North China and Mexico) tested, 13 showed significant changes in total chlorophyll content. In most of these sensitive species, chlorophyll a content was strongly reduced, and chlorophyll b content decreased in a lesser extent, leading to a decrease in chlorophyll a/b ratio. However, some species had an increased chlorophyll a/b ratio under enhanced UV-B. The effect of UV-B on flavonoid content also showed intraspecific differences, a significant increase for one cultivar, decreases in 12 cultivars and no effect on the other seven cultivars. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity of five cultivars was significantly increased, and that of six cultivars significantly decreased. Membrane permeability of 12 cultivars significantly increased, while only that of Dali 905 was significantly decreased. Malonaldehyde (MDA) contents of eight cultivars were increased significantly, while that of three cultivars was significantly decreased. Although large intraspecific differences were found for the different parameters measured, there was no clear correlation between them under UV-B radiation.
 
Article
Differential growth is a feature of cells, the organs which they construct and the whole plant itself. The control of differential growth at each of these three levels of organization resides in the level lower than that in which it is expressed. Thus, differential growth of cells is regulated by the patterns of intracellular microtubules and cellulose microfibrils of the walls, that of organs by the pattern of growth of their cells, and that of the organism by the relative rates of organ growth. The latter is, in turn, determined an all-pervading system of correlative interactions. Plant hormones by may play a role in each of these regulatory systems.
 
Article
When growing roots are placed in a horizontal position gravity induces a positive curvature. It is classically considered to be the consequence of a faster elongation rate by the upper side compared to the lower side. A critical examination indicates that the gravireaction is caused by differential cell extension depending on several processes. Some of the endogenous regulators which may control the growth and gravitropism of elongating roots are briefly presented. The growth inhibitors produced or released from the root cap move preferentially in a basipetal direction and accumulate in the lower side of the elongation zone of horizontally maintained roots. The identity of these compounds is far from clear, but one of these inhibitors could be abscisic acid (ABA). However, indol-3y1 acetic acid (IAA) is also important for root growth and gravitropism. ABA may interact with IAA. Two other aspects of root cell extension have also to be carefully considered. An elongation gradient measured from the tip to the base of the root was found to be important for the growth of both vertical and horizontal gravireactive roots. It was changed significantly during the gravipresentation and can be considered as the origin of the differential elongation. Sephadex beads have been used as both growth markers and as monitors of surface pH changes when they contain some pH indicator. This technique has shown that the distribution of cell extension along the main root axis is related to a pH gradient, the proton efflux being larger for faster growing parts of roots. A lateral movement of calcium is obtained when Ca2+ is applied across the tips of horizontally placed roots with a preferential transport towards the lower side. Endogenous calcium, which may accumulate inside the endoplasmic reticulum of some cap cells, may also act in the gravireception. These observations and several others strongly suggest that calcium may play an essential role in controlling root growth and several steps of the root gravireaction.
 
Article
Terminal meristems are responsible for all primary growth of roots. It has been asserted that all cells of root meristems are actively dividing and that the stem cell (proliferative) population expands exponentially. Lengths of cells in roots just proximal to the root cap/root initial boundary were used to determine the numbers of cortex and stele cells in the meristem. Meristem cells were defined as cells that did not have significantly different cell lengths from initial cells at the boundary. Data show that, for five of the six species (Allium cepa, Pisum sativum, Pyrus communis, Triticum aestivum, Vicia faba, and Zea mays) tested, only the first 15 stele and the first 10-35 cortex cells in median longitudinal sections would be in the meristem. For T. aestivum, no discrete meristem was found because all cells proximal to initial cells were longer than initial cells. In addition to this subject area, distributions of lengths of cells in the root meristem using this definition, for the six species were compared with a theoretical cell-age distribution for exponentially dividing cells, to determine if distributions of cell lengths were similar to a theoretical distribution of exponentially dividing cells. For all species tested, distributions of cell lengths were not similar to a theoretical cell-age distribution. From the data of this study with six plant species, we conclude that either contiguous proliferative cell populations of root meristems are very small or the proliferative cell population is not continuous. In addition, such populations do not resemble a theoretical exponential cell-age distribution. Moreover, it seems that the proliferative capacities of cells within terminal root segments differ markedly among species and are not easily characterized.
 
Article
The responses of gas exchange and water use efficiency to nitrogen nutrition for winter wheat were investigated under well-watered and drought conditions. The photosynthetic gas exchange parameters of winter wheat are remarkably improved by water and nitrogen nutrition and the regulative capability of nitrogen nutrition is influenced by water status. The effects of nitrogen nutrition on photosynthetic characteristics and on the limited factors to photosynthesis are not identical under different water status. Intrinsic water use efficiency (WUE(i)) of the plants at the high-N nutrition was decreased by a larger value than that of the plants in the low-N treatment due to a larger decrease in photosynthetic rate than in transpiration rate. Carbon isotope composition of plant material (delta(p)) is increased by the increase of drought intensity. The delta(p) at a given level of C(i)/C(a) is reduced by nitrogen deficiency. Leaf carbon isotope discrimination (Delta) is increased by the increase of nitrogen nutrition and decreased by the increase of drought intensity. Transpirational water use efficiency (WUE(t)) is negatively correlated with Delta in both nitrogen supply treatments and increased with the nitrogen supply.
 
Article
Between May and September, 1996, seedlings of Pinus halepensis were placed at a site adjacent to an automated air pollution monitoring station within the urban area of Florence. Additional 'control' plants were placed in chambers ventilated with charcoal/Purafil(R)-filtered air. All trees were well watered throughout the whole experimental period. During the exposure period, ambient levels of sulphur dioxide were very low, whilst the accumulated hourly exposure to ozone above 40 ppb (i.e. AOT40) exceeded 20000 ppb h(-1) - peak hourly ozone concentrations rising to levels above 100 ppb. Trees exposed to ambient levels of air pollution exhibited typical symptoms of ozone damage (chlorotic mottle) on previous year needles toward the end of the summer. Similar symptoms were not observed on equivalent trees exposed to filtered-air, nor were visible symptoms accompanied by insect or pest infestation. Anatomical and ultrastructural observations made on symptomatic needles revealed degeneration in mesophyll cells bordering sub-stomatal cavities and alterations in chloroplast ultrastructure (fat accumulation, starch and tannin pattern modifications). These observations are consistent with the known effects of air pollutants (namely ozone) recorded in the literature. Findings are discussed in relation to the impacts of ozone on P. halepensis in the Mediterranean region.
 
Article
An increasing number of studies on tropic responses includes the genetic analysis of mutants defective in these morphogenetic processes. This review collates the information and discusses the implications of this approach to such studies. The review is organized on a systematic basis because most genetic analyses are insufficiently complete for general principles to have emerged. The most advanced analyses are those of lower eukaryotes because of their haploidy and the ease with which they can be manipulated in vitro. The extensive studies of phototropism, gravitropism and autochemotropism in the fungus Phycomyces blakesleeanus and of phototropism, polarotropism and gravitropism in the moss Physcomitrella patens are reviewed. In comparison with these studies, the genetic analysis of tropic responses in particular species of flowering plants is more limited. However, comparative physiological and ultra-structural studies of individual mutant and wild-type strains have been performed for a number of species. These results are discussed with particular regard to their support for established hypotheses.
 
The herbicide safeners cloquintocet mexyl, fenchlorazole ethyl and mefenpyr diethyl used in wheat.
Induction of GSTs in 9-day-old wheat shoots sprayed daily with 10 mg L − 1 solutions of the herbicide safeners, cloquintocet mexyl, fenchlorozole ethyl or mefenpyr diethyl. Protein extracts were normalised and separated by SDS-PAGE before probing with antisera raised to the lambda class GSTL (top row), phi class GST l-ll, (middle) and tau class GSTU l-l (bottom). 
Article
Safeners are agrochemicals which enhance tolerance to herbicides in cereals including wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by elevating the expression of xenobiotic detoxifying enzymes, such as glutathione transferases (GSTs). When wheat plants were spray-treated with three safener chemistries, namely cloquintocet mexyl, mefenpyr diethyl and fenchlorazole ethyl, an apparently identical subset of GSTs derived from the tau, phi and lambda classes accumulated in the foliage. Treatment with the closely related mefenpyr diethyl and fenchlorazole ethyl enhanced seedling shoot growth, but this effect was not determined with the chemically unrelated cloquintocet mexyl. Focussing on cloquintocet mexyl, treatments were found to only give a transient induction of GSTs, with the period of elevation being dose dependent. Examining the role of safener metabolism in controlling these responses, it was determined that cloquintocet mexyl was rapidly hydrolysed to the respective carboxylic acid. Studies with cloquintocet showed that the acid was equally effective at inducing GSTs as the ester and appeared to be the active safener. Studies on the tissue induction of GSTs showed that whilst phi and tau class enzymes were induced in all tissues, the induction of the lambda enzymes was restricted to the meristems. To test the potential protective effects of cloquintocet mexyl in wheat on chemicals other than herbicides, seeds were pre-soaked in safeners prior to sowing on soil containing oil and a range of heavy metals. Whilst untreated seeds were unable to germinate on the contaminated soil, safener treatments resulted in seedlings briefly growing before succumbing to the pollutants. Our results show that safeners exert a range of protective and growth promoting activities in wheat that extend beyond enhancing tolerance to herbicides.
 
Article
Ten wet grassland species were fumigated with four concentrations of ozone (charcoal-filtered air, non-filtered air and non-filtered air plus 25 or 50 nl l(-1) ozone) in open-top chambers during one growing season to investigate the long-term effect of this air pollutant on various growth variables. Only Eupatorium cannabinum showed ozone-related foliar injury, while five species reacted with significantly ozone-enhanced senescence. Premature senescence was paralleled by a significant ozone-induced reduction of green leaf area in Achillea ptarmica, E. cannabinum and Plantago lanceolata. At the intermediate harvest performed after 28 days shoot weights were significantly decreased by ozone in A. ptarmica and increased in Molinia caerulea. At the final harvest performed at the end of the growing season two other species, Cirsium dissectum and E. cannabinum had a significantly reduced shoot weight due to ozone. Root biomass was determined only at the intermediate harvest. The root:shoot ratio (RSR) was significantly reduced in C. dissectum, while it increased in M. caerulea. Seven of the species developed flowers during the experiment. While no significant ozone effects on flowering date and flower numbers were detected, flower weights were significantly reduced in E. cannabinum and P. lanceolata.
 
Article
We have examined the ultrastructure of mesophyll cells and photosynthetic activity induced by a photodynamic herbicide, 1,10-phenanthroline (Phe), in greening pea seedlings. Greening pea seedlings treated in darkness and subsequently illuminated were resistant to low doses (2 mM) of Phe. Pea plants treated with 10 or 20 mM Phe were susceptible to light, CO2 evolution in Phe-treated plants proceeded at a much higher rate than the rate of CO2 uptake. Net photosynthesis rate (Pn) was extremely low in Phe-treated plants. Ultrastructure of mesophyll cells was the same in control, Phe 10 and Phe 20 plants before transfer of plants to light. Differences between control and Phe-treated plants became visible after 4 hr of illumination and increased during 9 hr of illumination. This difference was manifested in thylakoid swelling, dilation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) cisternae, degeneration of internal mitochondrial membranes and disruption of chloroplast envelopes. There were starch grains in control but not in Phe-treated plant mesophyll cells. A standard photoinhibition mechanism might explain the destruction caused by phenanthroline and subsequent illumination. In the present paper we suggest another possible mechanism, also based on chelating properties of Phe, which could directly cause membrane depolarization and thus change membrane permeability. One of these mechanisms might explain the structural and functional effects of Phe action.
 
Article
The specificity of the clastogenetic effect of 4-epoxyethyl-1,2-epoxy-cyclohexane (VCH-diepoxide) on Vicia faba and Allium cepa has been investigated. Cytogenetic effect was estimated by Giemsa staining banding techniques on metaphase and anaphase analysis of chromatid and chromosome aberrations.Aberrations induced by VCH-diepoxide were preferentially located on particular Giemsa stained bands of M and S chromosomes in Vicia and in heterochromatic telomeric regions in Allium. The percentage of micronuclei and chromatin bodies (structures resembling chromocenters) into the cytoplasm was also estimated. In situ hybridization technique was used to demonstrate the presence of highly repetitive DNA sequences in the chromatin bodies extruded from Allium nuclei. The data suggest that an amplification process may be induced by the chemical compound.
 
Article
We have studied the cytogenetic effect of 4-epoxyethyl-1,2-epoxy-cyclohexane (VCH-diepoxide) on Vicia faba and Allium cepa root tip meristems. Cytogenetic effect was estimated as percentage of micronuclei formed in interphase. We have shown that specific regions of M and S chromosomes of Vicia and allium telomeric regions as well were involved in the aberrations. Moreover we have demonstrated that DNA containing cytoplasmic structures defined ‘chromatin bodies’ and resembling chromocenters were extruded into the cytoplasm of both treated species. Thymidine post treatments, after the chemical exposure, prove a synergistic effect on the clastogenetic activities of VCH-diepoxide in V. faba and A. cepa.
 
Article
Photosynthesis, initial Rubisco activity, Rubisco protein, total soluble protein and water relations were studied in subtropical Chinese broccoli (Brassica alboglabra) grown aeroponically in a tropical (Singapore) greenhouse. Aerial parts of the plant were maintained at hot ambient (A) temperature, but with their roots exposed to two different root-zone temperatures (RZTs): a constant 25 degreesC-RZT and a diurnally fluctuating ambient temperature (25-40 degreesC). Plants grown at 25 degreesC-RZT exhibited greater non-stomatal and stomatal limitation of photosynthetic rates (light- and CO2-saturated O-2 evolution, P-max and light-saturated CO2 assimilation, A(sat)). Light saturated stomatal conductance (g(s sat)) was higher in 25 degreesC-RZT than A-RZT plants. Initial Rubisco activity and Rubisco protein was significantly lower in A-RZT plants than 25 degreesC-RZT. The total soluble protein per unit leaf area showed a marked decrease in plants grown at A-RZT compared to those grown at 25 degreesC-RZT. Predawn and midday leaf water potential (Psi (leaf)) were higher in 25 degreesC-RZT than A-RZT plants. Reciprocal RZT transfer experiments were also conducted to study the relationship among photosynthesis, Rubisco and water relations. Immediate parallel decreases were observed in A(sat), g(s sat) and Psi (leaf) when plants were transferred from 25 degreesC-RZT to A-RZT. However, significant increases in these parameters were observed after only 3 days of RZT transfer from ambient to 25 degreesC. Decreases in non-stomatal limitation of photosynthesis, P-max, initial Rubisco activity, Rubisco and total leaf soluble proteins were not detected.
 
Top-cited authors
Muhammad Ashraf
  • University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Majid Foolad
  • Pennsylvania State University
Saddia Galani
  • University of Karachi
Ismail Turkan
  • Ege University
Luigi Sanita' di Toppi
  • Università di Pisa