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Jean-Pierre Prive and M.I.N. Zhang

2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining and electrical impedance (?) analyses of apple roots (Malus domestica Borkh. `Beautiful Arcade') taken in late March from either the field or from 3C refrigerated storage (cold-stored). LT50 levels using TTC were much lower than those found using electrical impedance. No loss of viability in the roots was detectable using TTC staining until a freeze–thaw stress of –9C whereas? analysis detected changes in cell viability after a freeze–thaw stress of only –3C. With increasing cold stress, two parameters: extracellular electrical resistance (Ro) and time constant?, decreased linearly for cold-stored roots and exponentially for field roots. Impedance analysis also revealed that the values for both extracellular Ro and total tissue electrical resistance (R?) for the field roots were approximately 5 and 8 times lower, respectively, than in the cold-stored roots. It is believed that the smaller Ro and R? values obtained from the field roots were due to natural in-field freeze–thaw cycling prior to the controlled stress tests in the laboratory. Based on the analyses of winter hardiness using the two methods, the impedance technique? provided the physiological information not only about the hardiness level, but also about freeze–thaw history prior to the hardiness assessment.

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Jean-Pierre Privé and M.I.N. Zhang

2,3,5-triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining, electrical conductivity, and electrical impedance (Z) analyses were used to assess freezing injury of `Beautiful Arcade' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) roots taken in late March from either the field or 3C-refrigerated storage (cold-stored). Lethal temperature (LT50) levels using TTC or electrical conductivity occurred at colder temperatures than those found using Z. Techniques varied in their ability to detect changes in cell viability with increasing cold stress. Listed in order of decreasing responsiveness they are electrical impedance (Z), electrical conductivity, and TTC vital staining. With the most sensitive technique, Z, two parameters—extracellular and total tissue electrical resistance—were about five and eight times lower (indicating more injury) for roots from the field than from cold storage. The smaller values obtained from the field roots were probably due to natural in-field freeze-thaw cycling before the controlled cold-stress tests in the laboratory. More importantly, the impedance technique provided more detailed information than TTC or electrical conductivity about how apple roots respond to cold stress and how Z may provide some insight into freeze-thaw history before injury assessment. Although this technique shows potential, future studies are required to render a complete physiological significance to the impedance parameters involved in calculating Z.