Physiological Responses of Apple Trees to Supraoptimal Root Temperature


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35 Scopus citations


Ungrafted apple rootstocks were grown in sand cultures at constant root temperatures between 20°C to 40°C. Temperatures of 30°C and above reduced root and shoot growth. Serious damage to the leaves occurred at 35°C and above. The O2 consumption, CO2 evolution and respiratory quotient (RQ) of the roots showed maximum values at 35°C. Different rootstock cultivars varied greatly in their susceptibility to damage by supraoptimal root temperatures apparently due to anaerobic respiration. The more susceptible ones differed from resistant types in the larger amount of ethanol they accumulated in their roots at supraoptimal root temperature, and the more severe reduction in the malic acid content of the roots at such temperature. Acetaldehyde was also found in roots and leaves at supraoptimal root temperatures, whereas the organic acid content of the leaves tended to decrease. Supraoptimal root temperature also caused a reduction of cytokinins in both roots and leaves accompanied by a reduction in the leaf chlorophyll content. This could be prevented by the application of kinetin or benzyladenine to the leaves. In a short experiment a rise in root temperature up to 40°C caused an increase in transpiration and a decrease in the resistance of the leaves to the passage of water vapor, whereas in prolonged experiments transpiration reached a maximum and leaf resistance a minimum at 30°C. The leaf water potential increased also with increasing root temperature. Leaf temperature increased with increasing root temperature, irrespective of increasing or decreasing transpiration rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1972
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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