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Plant Physiol. 1982 Oct; 70(4): 1084–1089.
PMCID: PMC1065830

Bacterial Ice Nucleation: A Factor in Frost Injury to Plants 1


Heterogeneous ice nuclei are necessary, and the common epiphytic ice nucleation active (INA) bacteria Pseudomonas syringae van Hall and Erwinia herbicola (Löhnis) Dye are sufficient to incite frost injury to sensitive plants at −5°C. The ice nucleation activity of the bacteria occurs at the same temperatures at which frost injury to sensitive plants occurs in nature. Bacterial ice nucleation on leaves can be detected at about −2°C, whereas the leaves themselves, i.e. without INA bacteria, contain nuclei active only at much lower temperatures. The temperature at which injury to plants occurs is predictable on the basis of the ice nucleation activity of leaf discs, which in turn depends on the number and ice nucleation activity of their resident bacteria. Bacterial isolates which are able to incite injury to corn at −5°C are always active as ice nuclei at −5°C. INA bacteria incited frost injury to all of the species of sensitive plants tested.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • KING EO, WARD MK, RANEY DE. Two simple media for the demonstration of pyocyanin and fluorescin. J Lab Clin Med. 1954 Aug;44(2):301–307. [PubMed]
  • Lindow SE, Arny DC, Upper CD. Distribution of ice nucleation-active bacteria on plants in nature. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1978 Dec;36(6):831–838. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lucas JW. Subcooling and Ice Nucleation in Lemons. Plant Physiol. 1954 May;29(3):245–251. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Maki LR, Galyan EL, Chang-Chien MM, Caldwell DR. Ice nucleation induced by pseudomonas syringae. Appl Microbiol. 1974 Sep;28(3):456–459. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Plant Physiology are provided here courtesy of American Society of Plant Biologists


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