UBC Theses and Dissertations
Effects of carbon dioxide and pH on some phytochrome-mediated responses in plants Bassi, Pawan Kumar
This investigation was initiated to study the effect of CO₂ on phytochrome-mediated morphogenesis in flowering and seed germination. Removal of CO₂ by flushing the plant environment with CO₂-free air inhibited the red light interruption effects on flowering in Xanthium pennsylvanicum and on seed germination in Lactuca sativa cv Grand Rapids. Further experiments were done to investigate the involvement of CO₂ exchange in the effects of night interruptions on flowering in Xanthium. ¹⁴CO₂ feeding trials showed that red light given for 5 minutes caused a net increase in ¹⁴C activity in the ethanol soluble fraction when ¹⁴CO₂ was fed during the light treatment. There was no effect of red light on the extent of ¹⁴CO₂ fixation in the dark period immediately following red light. The types of free amino acids recovered after paper chromatography were essentially the same after ¹⁴CO₂ feedings in darkness, red light, and far red light following red light. However, there was a considerable increase in ¹⁴C activity in most of the amino acids in leaves given red light interruption, and the amount further increased when far red light was given following the red light. The extent of ¹⁴C label in tyrosine, valine and leucine was essentially the same in all the three treatments. In CO₂-exchange experiments using the IRGA, brief red or far red light treatments were applied to Xanthium plants under inductive dark periods and the subsequent flowering response was assessed according to bud morphology. The occurrence of flowering depended on the timing, wavelength and intensity of the light treatments, and on the CCL concentration during the light treatments. CO₂ exchange was measured during the night interruptions in single attached leaves. CO₂ exchange was influenced by the conditions during the night interruptions, but there was no apparent correlation between the pattern of CO₂ exchange observed and the subsequent flowering response. It appears that the action of during night interruptions is not associated with the exchange of during the night interruption. In an attempt to investigate other possible roles of CO₂, experiments were done with light sensitive lettuce and Amaranthus retroflexus L. seeds. These experiments pertained to changes in pH of the incubation medium and CO₂ concentration simultaneously. Germination was strongly promoted at pH 4.0 but the promotion diminished with increases in pH and did not occur at pH 7.5. The response of germination to red irradiation was suppressed by CO₂ removal and enhanced by CO₂ enrichment in air or atmospheres. There was a close similarity between the pH effects on percentage germination and pH dependence of the CO₂ /HCO₃ - equilibrium. Transfer experiments, in which lettuce seeds were exchanged between buffers of pH 4.0 and pH 3.0, showed that the red/far red photo-transformation of phytochrome v/as independent of pH. Low pH, however, was required for onset of germination following red irradiation. Thereafter, pH between 4.0 and 8.0 did not limit the progress of germination. It is postulated that following red irradiation, a product develops which is distinguishable from the Pfr form of phytochrome. The product is stable at pH 8.0 and at pH 4.0 it acts to promote germination.