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Global warming leads to increasing irregular and unexpected warm spells during
autumn, and therefore natural chilling requirements to break dormancy are at risk. Controlled cold treatment can provide an answer to this problem. Nevertheless, artificial cold treatment will have consequences for carbon reserves and photosynthesis. In this paper, the effect of dark cold storage at 7 °C to break flower bud dormancy in the evergreen Rhododendron simsii was quantified. Carbohydrate and starch content in leaves and flower buds of an early (‘Nordlicht’), semi-early (‘M. Marie’) and late (‘Mw. G. Kint’) flowering cultivar showed that carbon loss due to respiration was lowest in ‘M. Marie’, while ‘Mw. G. Kint’ was completely depleted of starch reserves at the end of cold treatment. Gene isolation resulted in a candidate gene for sucrose synthase (SUS) RsSus, which appears to be homologous to AtSus3 and had a clear increase in
expression in leaves during cold treatment. Photosynthesis measurements in ‘Nordlicht’ and the late-flowering cultivar ‘Thesla’ showed that during cold treatment, dark respiration decreased 58% and 63%, respectively. Immediately after cold treatment, dark respiration increased and stabilised after 3 days. The light compensation point followed the same trend as dark respiration. Quantum efficiency showed no significant changes during the first days after cold treatment, but was significantly higher than in plants with dormant flower buds at the start of cold treatment. In conclusion, photosynthesis stabilised 3 days after cold treatment and was improved compared to the level before cold treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congress
Publication date23-Jun-2014
Publication statusPublished - 23-Jun-2014
EventPlant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congres - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 23-Jun-201424-Jul-2014

ID: 2906030