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Plant Physiol. 1990 Nov;94(3):1071-7.

Ethylene production and petiole growth in rumex plants induced by soil waterlogging: the application of a continuous flow system and a laser driven intracavity photoacoustic detection system.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Botany, Catholic University Nijmegen, Toernooiveld, 6525 ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Petiole growth of Rumex acetosa L., Rumex crispus L., and Rumex palustris Sm. in response to soil waterlogging was studied in relation to production of the gaseous plant hormone ethylene. Ethylene production was monitored in a flow-through system and a recently developed laser driven photoacoustic detection system, which allowed ethylene measurements as low as 6 picoliters per liter. R. acetosa showed a two-fold increase in ethylene production correlated with a slight enhancement of the growth of the petiole that developed during the waterlogging treatment. Both R. crispus and R. palustris showed a strong petiole elongation of existing as well as newly formed petioles, which was correlated with a 20-fold increase in ethylene production after approximately 7 days. Increased rates of ethylene production in R. palustris were related to a strong increase in 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) concentration and a slight, but detectable, increase in ethylene forming enzyme activity. In R. acetosa on the other hand, only a very small increase in ACC concentration was observed. Changes in ethylene production in Rumex are strongly correlated with variation in ACC content and ethylene forming enzyme activity. The interaction between ethylene production/internal concentration and ethylene sensitivity of the three Rumex species is discussed in relation to their field location in a flooding gradient and their differential resistance toward waterlogging and submergence.

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