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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Factors Affecting Cold Injury of Sugarbeat Seedlings1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 67 No. 2, p. 258-262
    Received: Apr 15, 1974

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  1. J. W. Cary2



Sugarbeet seedlings (Beta vulgaris L.) may be killed by Spring frost just as they emerge from the soil. Possible solutions to this problem were investigated under closely controlled laboratory and growth chamber conditions. The seedlings were germinated at different temperatures in contact with solutions containing both varying osmotic pressures and compounds known to promote cold-hardiness in other plants. Following germination, the seedlings were frozen in blocks of ice at different minimum temperatures and the degree of injury was noted.

The results indicated that two mechanisms were involved in seedling survival. One was related to the osmotic potential of the plant sap and the other to the amount of water in the sap that could be converted to ice without killing the seedlings. Seedling osmotic pressures could be increased through the solution in contact with the roots, while the tolerance for ice could be increased with cool temperatures during germination. These two factors had a strong positive interaction and could reduce the normal lethal temperature from −0.5 to −2.5 C. Growth regulators and other compounds that have been reported to increase cold-hardiness in other plants were not effective.

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