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Environ Exp Bot. 2000 Oct 1;44(2):125-132.

Cyclitols as cryoprotectants for spinach and chickpea thylakoids.

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Institut für Ökologie der Pflanzen, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Hindenburgplatz 55, 48143, Münster, Germany


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).

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