Alaska peas (Pisum sativum `Alaska') germinated in a dark growth chamber were treated ABA dissolved in a small amount of acetone before diluting in distilled water with 0.1% spreader. A blank solution was identically prepared without ABA. Both solutions were applied via paintbrush to the epicotyls of the peas every twelve hours for seven days following emergence. The blank solution was applied to two controls, chronological and physiological. A methanol bath was used to induce freezing and chilling stresses. ABA significantly improved cold tolerance (electrolyte leakage) in the pea seedlings for both freezing and chilling stress as compared to the physiological and chronological controls. Visual observation of the pea stems suggested a difference in stem flexibility among ABA treated peas and the controls. Pea stem elasticity and plasticity were measured along with plant dry weight, cell wall weight/gram fresh weight, and the quantity of cell wall sugars and amino acids.
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