Temperature, but not Growth Regulators, Influences Diurnal Stem Elongation Rhythms in Zinnia

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Olds College, Olds, A.B., Canada, T4H 1R6
  • | 2 Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre, Kentville, N.S., Canada, B4N 1J5
  • | 3 Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, N.S., Canada, B0P 1X0

Experiments were conducted to determine the effects of treatment with gibberellic acid (GA) on changes in diurnal growth rhythms caused by maturation and day/night temperature differential (DIF) in zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq. `Pompon'). Plants were treated with GA3 or with the GA biosynthesis inhibitor daminozide under three DIF regimes (+5 DIF: 21 °C DT/16 °C NT; 0 DIF: 18.7 °C constant; –5 DIF: 16.5 °C DT/21.5 °C NT), each with a daily average temperature of 18.7 °C, at two developmental stages: stage 1, the period of vegetative growth before flower bud formation; and stage 3, growth just before anthesis. Instantaneous stem elongation rates (SER) were measured using linear voltage displacement transducers. The DIF regime, as has been previously shown, influenced stem elongation primarily by altering the size of an early morning peak in SER; peak height increased as DIF became more positive. GA3 increased SER throughout the diurnal period with a proportionately larger effect on nighttime growth. Conversely, daminozide decreased SER more or less equally throughout the diurnal period. Neither GA3 or daminozide transformed growth patterns to match those of positive or negative DIF plants, but instead simply increased or decreased growth amplitude. Furthermore, neither growth regulator altered the basic diurnal SER pattern at any DIF, or influenced the observed shift to greater nighttime growth as plants matured from stage 1 to stage 3. The results suggest that neither the effects of DIF, or the age-related shift in diurnal growth distribution can be explained by changes in total availability of GA in the plant. Chemical name used: mono (2,2-dimethylhydrazide) butanedioic acid (daminozide).

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