Abstract

Pearson, J. and Havill, D. C. 1988. The effect of hypoxia and sulphide on culture-grown wetland and non-wetland plants. I. Growth and nutrient uptake.-J. exp. Bot. 39: 363–374.

The growth rates of two flood-intolerant (Agropyron pungens, Hordeum vulgare) and two flood-tolerant plants (Oryza sativa, Aster tripolium) were compared after treatments in aerated, unaerated and unaerated plus sulphide, culture solution. Growth of the two flood-intolerant species was reduced 15–20% by lack of aeration and 30–35 % by the sulphide treatment. Growth of the flood-tolerant species was increased by 4–7 % when unaerated and decreased 10 % by the sulphide treatment. Of five macro- and three micro-nutrients analysed in shoots and roots, no deficiency or increase in any single element could account for the reduction in growth rate of the flood-intolerant plants. The treatment with sulphide increased the total sulphur m the tissues of the wetland more than in the non-wetland species. A large part of this increase can be accounted for by an increase in sulphate. By comparing the effects of both sulphate and sulphide on the activities of two enzymes of sulphur assimilation (ATP sulphurylase, O-acetylserine sulphydrylase) it was shown that sulphide uptake by roots does occur and that oxidation to sulphate is its most likely fate. Measurements of root aerenchyma showed no correlation between this and a species' growth rate when its roots were either unaerated or treated with sulphide. Similarly, there was no correlation between the extent of aerenchyma and the ability of a plant to oxidize sulphide within the root.

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