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Naturwissenschaften. 2000 Jul;87(7):289-303.

Rice in deep water: "how to take heed against a sea of troubles".

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1
Institut für Allgemeine Botanik, Universität Hamburg, Germany. msauter@botanik.uni-hamburg.de

Abstract

Plants are aerobic organisms for which oxygen shortage poses a severe problem. Waterlogging and flooding are the main causes of anaerobiosis and can lead to damage or even death of the plant. Rice is well adapted to semi-aquatic conditions. It is the only cereal that can be grown in flooded areas such as the great river deltas of Asia. In rice, two major strategies have evolved to cope with conditions of flooding. One is to escape submergence and thereby avoid anaerobiosis as much as possible. This is achieved through elongation growth and through extensive aeration of submerged plant parts by way of internal and external air spaces. The second adaptation is a metabolic one which includes the efficient use of carbohydrate resources and maintenance of energy charge when the cells do become anaerobic. The mainly ethanolic fermentation pathway found in anaerobic rice avoids acidification of the cytoplasm and thereby contributes to the maintenance of cell integrity. Genetic analysis indicates that the submergence tolerance trait, which is based on metabolic changes, is encoded by only one or a few as yet unidentified gene(s). Identifying these genes is a major goal in anaerobic stress research.

PMID:
11013876
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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