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Abdur Rab and Mikal E. Saltveit

Chilling sensitivity increased as the radicle of germinating corn (Zea mays L. `Jubilee' hybrid), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. `Poinsett 76'), mung bean (Phaseolus aureus Roxb. `Berkin'), and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `Rio Grande') seeds increased in length from 1 to 7 mm. In contrast, radicles of germinating okra (Hibiscus esculentus L. `Clemson' spineless) seeds exhibited similar levels of chilling sensitivity at all radicle lengths. The degree of chilling sensitivity varied among the species in relation to time required to elicit a significant response and the magnitude of the elicited response. Based on subsequent radicle elongation, okra and cucumber were the most sensitive species to chilling at 2.5C for 96 h; tomato and corn were relatively less sensitive, and mung bean was the least sensitive. This pattern of sensitivities changed when other criteria were used to evaluate chilling sensitivity. The development of lateral roots decreased with prolonged chilling in all species, except for corn in which the apical tip remained viable even after 192 h of chilling. Heat shock (0 to 10 min at 45C) induced chilling tolerance in all species, except okra. In okra, neither increasing the heat shock temperature nor decreasing the severity of chilling (i.e., temperature and duration of exposure) resulted in a significant reduction in chilling injury. The differential induction of heat shock proteins in okra and the other species is discussed.

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Abdur Rab and Mikal E. Saltveit

The sensitivity of corn, cucumber, mung bean, and tomato seedling radicles to chilling (i.e., inhibition of subsequent elongation at 25 C after chilling at 2.5 C) was greater for radicles 5 to 7 mm long than for radicles 1 mm long. In contrast, radicles of germinating okra seeds had a similar level of chilling inhibition (i.e., 70% to 90%) at lengths of 1 to 7 mm. For seeds with 1-mm-long radicles, subsequent radicle elongation for cucumber was inhibited only 2% by 72 hours of chilling at 2.5 C, while it was inhibited about 20% for corn, mung bean, and tomato. For seeds with 5- to 7-mm-long radicles, chilling inhibition was 50% to 70% for corn, mung bean, and tomato and 80% to 90% for cucumber and okra. The degree of chilling sensitivity varied among species in relation to time required to elicit a significant response and the magnitude of the elicited response. The development of lateral roots decreased with prolonged chilling in all species. Heat shock (i.e., 4 to 10 minutes at 45 C) induced chilling tolerance in all species except okra. In okra, neither increasing the heat-shock temperature nor decreasing the severity of chilling (i.e., temperature and duration of exposure) significantly reduced chilling injury.

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Abdur Rab and Mikal E. Saltveit

Germinating `Poinsett 76' cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seeds are chilling sensitive, and subsequent radicle elongation is inhibited by exposure to nonfreezing temperatures below 10 °C. Reorienting germinated seeds with 5-mm-long radicles from a vertical to a horizontal position induced gravitropic curvature within 2 hours at 10 to 25 °C without significantly affecting the rate of radicle elongation. However, neither elongation nor curvature occurred in similar seeds held at 2.5 or 5 °C. Chilling seeds with 5-mm-long radicles at 2.5 °C for 18 hours significantly reduced the subsequent rate of radicle elongation at 25 °C by 47% compared with nonchilled control, while gravitropic curvature was reduced by only 34%. After 36 hours of recovery at 25 °C, the difference was even more pronounced; elongation was reduced by 26% while curvature was reduced by only 6%. Clearly, gravitropic curvature was less chilling sensitive than radicle elongation, despite the fact that differential elongation of cells in the radicle are needed to produce curvature. Exposing seeds with 5-mm-long radicles to a heat shock of 45 °C for 4 to 10 minutes significantly diminished the chilling-induced reduction in radicle elongation and gravitropic curvature.