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Plant Physiol. 1966 Oct;41(8):1387-91.

Abnormal stomatal behavior in wilty mutants of tomato.

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  • 1Department of Botany, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.


An attempt was made to explain the excessive wilting tendency of 3 tomato mutants, notabilis, flacca, and sitiens. The control varieties in which these mutations were induced are Rheinlands Ruhm for flacca and sitiens and Lukullus for notabilis. Although all 3 mutants are alleles of separated loci, they seem to react similarly to water stress. The mutants wilt faster than the control plants when both are subjected to the same water stress. It was demonstrated by measurements of water loss from whole plants that all 3 mutants have much higher rates of transpiration than the control varieties, particularly at night. The extent of cuticular transpiration was compared in both kinds of plants by measuring the rate of water loss from detached drying leaves coated with vaseline on the lower surface. The difference in cuticular transpiration between the mutant and the control plants seems to be negligible. However, various facts point to stomata as the main factor responsible for the higher rates of water loss in the mutant plants. The stomata of the latter tend to open wider and to resist closure in darkness, in wilted leaves, and when treated with phenylmercuric acetate. Stomata of the 2 extreme mutants, sitiens and flacca, remain open even when the guard cells are plasmolyzed. The stomata of the mutants also are more frequent per unit of leaf surface and vary more in their size.

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