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Plant Physiol. 1976 Jul;58(1):114-7.

Inhibition of ethylene production by cobaltous ion.

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  • 1Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, California 95616.


The effect of Co(2+) on ethylene production by mung bean (Phaseolus aureus Roxb.) and by apple tissues was studied. Co(2+), depending on concentrations applied, effectively inhibited ethylene production by both tissues. It also strongly inhibited the ethylene production induced by IAA, kinetin, IAA plus kinetin, Ca(2+), kinetin plus Ca(2+), or Cu(2+) treatments in mung bean hypocotyl segments. While Co(2+) greatly inhibited ethylene production, it had little effect on the respiration of apple tissue, indicating that Co(2+) does not exert its inhibitory effect as a general metabolic inhibitor. Ni(2+), which belongs to the same group as Co(2+) in the periodic table, also markedly curtailed both the basal and the induced ethylene production by apple and mung bean hypocotyl tissues.In a system in which kinetin and Ca(2+) were applied together, kinetin greatly enhanced Ca(2+) uptake, thus enhancing ethylene production. Co(2+), however, slightly inhibited the uptake of Ca(2+) but appreciably inhibited ethylene production, either in the presence or in the absence of kinetin. Tracer experiments using apple tissue indicated that Co(2+) strongly inhibited the in vivo conversion of l-[U-(14)C]methionine to (14)C-ethylene. These data suggest that Co(2+) inhibited ethylene production by inhibiting the conversion of methionine to ethylene, a common step which is required for ethylene formation by higher plants.Co(2+) is known to promote elongation, leaf expansion, and hook opening in excised plant parts in response to applied auxins or cytokinins. Since ethylene is known to inhibit these growth phenomena, it is suggested that Co(2+) exerts its promotive effect, at least in part, by inhibiting ethylene formation.

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