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Can J Bot. 1988 Apr;66(4):719-23.

The effect of ethylene on root growth of Zea mays seedlings.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of California, Berkeley 94720.
  • 2U CA, Berkeley, Dept Botany


The control of primary root growth in Zea mays cv. Merit by ethylene was examined. At applied concentrations of ethylene equal to or greater than 0.1 microliter L-1, root elongation during 24 h was inhibited. The half-maximal response occurred at 0.6 microliter L-1 and the response saturated at 6 microliters L-1. Inhibition of elongation took place within 20 min. However, after ethylene was removed, elongation recovered to control values within 15 min. Root elongation was also inhibited by green light. The inhibition caused by a 24-h exposure to ethylene was restricted to the elongating region just behind the apex, with inhibition of cortical cell elongation being the primary contributor to the effect. Based on use of 2,5-norbornadiene, a gaseous competitive inhibitor of ethylene, it was concluded that endogenous ethylene normally inhibits root elongation.

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