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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Comparison of the Hydrocyanic Acid Potential of Sorghum Seedlings and Tillers1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 71 No. 3, p. 501-504
    Received: Aug 10, 1978

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  1. F. A. Haskins,
  2. H. J. Gorz and
  3. R. L. Nielsen2



The usefulness of seedling assays for predicting the hydrocyanic acid potential (HCN-p) of older plants of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] has been questioned. In this study, first leaves of chamber-grown seedlings were compared with young leaves of field-grown tillers by means of the spectrophotometric assay of p-hydroxybenzaldehyde as an indicator of HCN-p.

Absorption spectra of seedling and tiller leaf extracts indicated that the spectrophotometric method was more reliable with the seedling extracts. However, highly significant correlation coefficients were obtained in most comparisons of seedling HCN-p and tiller HCN-p. The r values varied greatly, depending to a considerable extent on whether the calculations were based on individual plant values, plot means, or cultivar means. With plot or cultivar means as the basis of calculation, r values in the range of 0.8 to 0.9 were not uncommon. It was concluded that assay of young seedlings with this method is useful in sudangrass [S. sudunense (Piper) Stapf] and sorghum breeding programs in which decreased HCN-p is an objective.

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