Send to

Choose Destination
Planta. 2006 Dec;225(1):103-14. Epub 2006 Jul 15.

Organ-specific analysis of the anaerobic primary metabolism in rice and wheat seedlings. I: Dark ethanol production is dominated by the shoots.

Author information

Department of Plant Physiology, Humboldt-University Berlin, Philippstrasse 13/Haus 12, 10115 Berlin, Germany.


During anaerobiosis in darkness the main route for ATP production in plants is through glycolysis in combination with fermentation. We compared the organ-specific anaerobic fermentation of flooding-tolerant rice (Oryza sativa) and sensitive wheat (Triticum aestivum) seedlings. A sensitive laser-based photoacoustic trace gas detection system was used to monitor emission of ethanol and acetaldehyde by roots and shoots of intact seedlings. Dark-incubated rice seedlings released 3 times more acetaldehyde and 14 times more ethanol than wheat seedlings during anaerobiosis. Ninety percent of acetaldehyde originated from shoots of both species. In comparison to wheat shoots, the high ethanol production of rice shoots correlated with larger amounts of soluble carbohydrates, and higher activities of fermentative enzymes. After 24 h of anaerobiosis in darkness rice shoots still contained 30% of aerated ATP level, which enabled seedlings to survive this period. In contrast, ATP content declined almost to zero in wheat shoots and roots, which were irreversibly damaged after a 24-h anaerobic period. When plants were anaerobically and dark incubated for 4 h and subsequently transferred back to aeration, shoots showed a transient peak of acetaldehyde release indicating prompt re-oxidation of ethanol. Post-anoxic acetaldehyde production was lower in rice seedlings than in wheat. This observation accounts for a more effective acetaldehyde detoxification system in rice. Compared to wheat the greater tolerance of rice seedlings to transient anaerobic periods is explained by a faster fermentation rate of their shoots allowing a sufficient ATP production and an efficient suppression of toxic acetaldehyde formation in the early re-aeration period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center