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N. Wartidiningsih, R.L. Geneve, and S.T. Kester

High germination seed lots of purple coneflower [Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench] were evaluated for laboratory germination following osmotic priming or chilling stratification. Compared to nontreated seeds, osmotic priming at 25C in salts (KNO3 + K3PO4; 1:1, w/w) or polyethylene glycol 4000 (PEG) increased early (3-day) germination percentage at 27C of all seed lots, and improved total (10-day) germination percentage of low-germination seed lots. Total germination percentage was unaffected or increased by priming for 4 days compared to 8 days, and by priming at –1.0 MPa compared to –0.5 MPa (except for one low-germination seed lot). Chilling stratification in water at 5 or 10C increased early and total germination of all seed lots, except for that same lot, compared to nontreated seeds. Total germination percentage was unaffected or increased by stratification at 10C rather than at 5C. Neither extending stratification ≥20 days nor lowering osmotic potential with PEG during stratification improved total germination percentage.

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Stephanie Burnett, Marc van Iersel, and Paul Thomas

Osmotic compounds, such as polyethylene glycol 8000 (PEG-8000), reduce plant elongation by imposing controlled drought. However, the effects of PEG-8000 on nutrient uptake are unknown. Impatiens `Dazzler Pink' (Impatiens walleriana Hook. F.) were grown hydroponically in modified Hoagland solutions containing 0, 10, 17.5, 25, 32.5, 40, 47.5, 55, or 62.5 g·L–1 PEG-8000. Impatiens were up to 68% shorter than control plants when grown with PEG-8000 in the nutrient solution. Plants treated with PEG-8000 rates above 25 g·L–1 were either damaged or similar in size to seedlings treated with 25 g·L–1 of PEG-8000. Impatiens leaf water potentials (Ψw) were positively correlated with plant height. PEG-8000 reduced the electrical conductivity of Hoagland solutions as much as 40% compared to nontreated Hoagland solutions, suggesting that PEG-8000 may bind some of the nutrient ions in solution. Foliar tissue of PEG-treated impatiens contained significantly less nitrogen, calcium, zinc, and copper, but significantly more phosphorus and nickel than tissue from nontreated impatiens. However, no nutrient deficiency symptoms were induced.

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Stephanie E. Burnett, Marc W. van Iersel, and Paul A. Thomas

French marigold (Tagetes patula L. `Boy Orange') was grown in a peat-based growing medium containing different rates (0, 15, 20, 30, 42, or 50 g·L–1) of polyethylene glycol 8000 (PEG-8000) to determine if PEG-8000 would reduce seedling height. Only 28% to 55% of seedlings treated with 62, 72, or 83 g·L–1 of PEG-8000 survived, and these treatments would be commercially unacceptable. Marigolds treated with the remaining concentrations of PEG-8000 had shorter hypocotyls, and were up to 38% shorter than nontreated controls at harvest. Marigold cotyledon water (ψw), osmotic (ψs), and turgor (ψp) potentials were significantly reduced by PEG-8000, and ψp was close to zero for all PEG-treated seedlings 18 days after seeding. Whole-plant net photosynthesis, whole-plant dark respiration, and net photosynthesis/leaf area ratios were reduced by PEG-8000, while specific respiration of seedlings treated with PEG-8000 increased. Marigolds treated with concentrations greater than 30 g·L–1 of PEG-8000 had net photosynthesis rates that were close to zero. Fourteen days after transplanting, PEG-treated marigolds were still shorter than nontreated seedlings and they flowered up to 5 days later. Concentrations of PEG from 15 to 30 g·L–1 reduced elongation of marigold seedlings without negatively affecting germination, survival, or plant quality. It appears that marigold seedlings were shorter because of reduced leaf ψp and reductions in net photosynthesis.

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Stephanie Burnett, Paul Thomas, and Marc van Iersel

We previously found that incorporation of PEG-8000 into the growing medium delayed germination and resulted in shorter seedlings. However, in that study, we were unable to determine whether the reduced height was merely the effect of delayed germination or of reduced elongation after germination. To answer this question, we studied whether postgermination drenches with PEG-8000 can reduce seedling height. Annual salvia (Salvia splendens F. Sellow. ex Roem. & Shult. `Bonfire') and French marigold (Tagetes patula L. `Boy Orange') seedlings were treated with drenches of PEG-8000: 0, 15, 20, 30, 42, 50, 62, 72, or 83 g·L–1. At least 20% of seedlings treated with 62 to 83 g·L–1 of PEG-8000 were dead 14 d after treatment. Salvia and marigolds treated with the remaining PEG-8000 concentrations were up to 34% and 14% shorter than untreated seedlings, respectively. Leaf water (Ψw) and turgor potential (Ψp) also decreased for salvia which were grown with greater concentrations of PEG-8000, one probable cause of the observed reduction in elongation. Since the PEG-8000 in this study was applied after germination, it is clear that PEG-8000 does not reduce elongation merely by delaying germination, but also by reducing the elongation rate. Thus, postgermination drenches with PEG-8000 can be used to produce shorter seedlings.

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Tingting Sun, Tingting Pei, Zhijun Zhang, Mingjun Li, Linlin Huang, Cuiying Li, Xueyan Shi, Minghui Zhan, Xiaoyu Cao, Fengwang Ma, and Changhai Liu

). This indicates that PHTs are involved not only in low P but also in drought resistance. Polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG6000) is frequently used in experiments to simulate osmotic stress ( Bhargava and Paranjpe, 2004 ; Radhouane, 2007 ). With a

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Imed Dami and Harrison Hughes

Micropropagated grapes (Vitis sp. `Valiant') were subjected to water stress while rooting with the addition of 2% (w/v) PEG 8000. PEG-treated plantlets exhibited reduced growth, as compared to control (in vitro, no PEG), but developed greater leaf epicuticular wax. PEG-treated plantlets had three times the wax level of control. Although treated plantlets showed changes in leaf anatomy, no effect on stomatal frequency or stomatal index was evident. Differences in epidermal cell configuration were also observed among leaves from different treatments. PEG-treated plantlets resembled those grown in the greenhouse, morphologically and anatomically, and exhibited a higher survival rate than control upon transfer to the greenhouse.

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Shatha Matar Al-Matar, Mostafa M. Abo El-Nil, Jameel Al-Khairy, and Gerald Klingaman

Cell suspension cultures of four date palm cultivars were established, namely, Niboat Saif, Madjhool, Sukarri, and Berhi. In this study, two factors were tested for their effect on embryo maturation and hyperhydration. The effect of sucrose concentration was assessed by inoculating 0.5 g of embryogenic callus into a liquid MS basal medium supplemented with 10 mg/L inositol, 3 mg/L glycine, 20 mg/L glutamine, and 0, 20, 30, 40, 50 g/L sucrose. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) concentration effect on embryo maturation and hyperhydration was tested. PEG (molecular weight 7000–9000) was added at concentrations of 0, 10, 30, and 60 g/L to the date palm suspension cultures. Cultures were examined and subcultured every 3 weeks for 2 months. Embryos formed were then transferred to a solid MS medium supplemented with 10 mg/L inositol, 3 mg/L glycine, 5 mg/L glutamine, and 30 g/L sucrose. The number of embryos germinated from each treatment was counted to compare cultivar differences. Preliminary data suggests that the medium containing 30 g/L sucrose is most effective for embryo maturation, and those embryos germinated when transferred to a solidified MS medium. The study found that incorporating PEG into the medium reduced the hyperhydration of date palm tissues. The various cultivars reacted differently to the treatments employed.

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Terence L. Robinson and Bruce H. Barritt

In unstressed apple seedlings (Malus domestics Borkh.), concentrations of free abscisic acid (ABA) decreased in order from apical stem sections, immature expanding leaves, mature stem sections, and mature leaves. PEG-induced water stress stimulated a 2- to 10-fold increase in free ABA concentrations 1 day after treatment, depending on the amount of stress and the tissue. By the 3rd day of stress, free ABA concentrations were nearly the same as the unstressed treatment and remained low for the remainder of the 21-day stress period. Bound ABA concentrations were an order of magnitude lower than free ABA and were not influenced dramatically by water stress. Shoot growth rate, leaf expansion rate, and leaf emergence rate were reduced by water stress in relation to the severity of the stress; this reduction was associated with the initial increase in ABA. However, there was no increase in shoot or leaf growth rates associated with the decline in ABA concentrations by day 3 as growth rates remained depressed on water-stressed plants throughout the 21-day stress period. Water stress reduced evapotranspiration rate and midshoot leaf water potential (ψW)after 1 day, but leaf osmotic potential (ψS) adjusted more slowly, resulting in a loss of leaf turgor. The reduction in leaf turgor pressure (ψP) was highly correlated with decreased shoot growth rate and increased ABA concentrations on day 1 after treatment. By the 3rd day of water stress, ψP bad recovered even in the most severe treatment, and the recovery of turgor was associated with the drop in ABA concentrations. However, the increase in midshoot ψP and the decline in ABA were not associated with any increase in shoot growth rate. The continued inhibition of shoot growth was probably not related to ABA or turgor pressure of mature leaves but may have been related to turgor pressure in the growing tip.

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Mehrassa Khademi, David S. Koranski, David J. Hannapel, Allen D. Knapp, and Richard J. Gladon

Water uptake by impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook. f. cv. Super Elfin Coral) seeds was measured as an increase in fresh weight every 24 hours during 144 hours of germination. Seeds absorbed most of the water required for germination within 3 hours of imbibition and germinated at 60% to 67% moisture on a dry-weight basis. Germination started at 48 hours and was complete by 96 hours at 25C. Water stress of -0.1, -0.2, -0.4, and -0.6 MPa, induced by polyethylene glycol 8000, reduced germination by 13%, 49%, 91%, and 100%, respectively, at 96 hours. Under the same water-stress conditions, increases in fresh weight were inhibited by 53%, 89%, 107%, and 106%, respectively. Three distinct groups of storage proteins were present in dry seed; their estimated molecular weights were 1) 35, 33, and 31 kDa; 2) 26, 23, and 21 kDa; and 3) two bands <14 kDa. Major depletion of storage proteins coincided with the completion of germination. Water potentials that inhibited germination also inhibited degradation of storage proteins. During germination under optimum conditions, the soluble protein fraction increased, coinciding with a decrease in the insoluble fraction.

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Michael Knee, Peg McMahon, and Glenn Carey

An undergraduate class in postharvest physiology observed a number of factors in the senescence of cut roses, which had been studied separately in the literature. They assessed the relative importance of the factors in determining vase life. `Samantha' roses were held at 20C in distilled water or a floral preservative. Ethylene treatment caused petal distortion and premature senescence. Floral preservatives stimulated ethylene production, although vase life was extended relative to flowers in water. Higher sugar contents and respiration were maintained in preservative than in water. Water uptake by roses was almost constant, but stem resistance to water flow increased faster in water than in preservative. In the 2nd week of vase life, transpiration exceeded water uptake, particularly for roses in water. As much of this water was lost through leaves as through the flower. The results suggest that a complex interaction of several factors determines vase life.