Previous studies, in which the role of phosphorus in abscission of olive leaves was examined in the presence of ethylene biosynthesis inhibitors, have suggested that phosphorus induces abscission directly, without involvement of ethylene. In the present study, this possibility was further explored by comparing the effects of an ethylene biosynthesis inhibitor, aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), and an ethylene action inhibitor, 2,5-norbornadiene (NBD), in olive [Olea europaea (L) cv. Manzanillo] and citrus [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck cv. Shamouti]. In olive, leaf abscission was always induced in the presence of KH2PO4, with or without AVG and NBD (alone or in combination), but was more pronounced when KH2PO4 was applied alone. In citrus, the effect of KH2PO4 alone on the induction of leaf abscission and ethylene production was much stronger than that observed in olive. However, in the presence of NBD, KH2PO4 did not induce leaf abscission in citrus during the first 60 hr. Similar results were obtained when NBD was replaced by AVG, but, in this case, abscission was inhibited for only 48 hr. In both cases, ethylene was detected after the inhibitory period had ended. The results obtained with citrus indicate that the observed effect of KH2PO4 on the ethylene-independent induction of leaf abscission in olive is not a general phenomenon and may differ in different species.
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