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Freezing characteristics of rigid plant tissues: development of cell tension during extracellular freezing

Rajashekar, C.B., Burke, M.J.
Plant physiology 1996 v.111 no.2 pp. 597-603
Vitis riparia, Quercus virginiana, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, stems, xylem, pith, leaves, frost, frost injury, cells, measurement, temperature, osmotic pressure, plant-water relations, mathematical models, equations
The freezing characteristics and development of cell tension during extracellular freezing were examined in supercooling stem tissues of riverbank grapes (Vitis riparia) and cold-hardened leaves of live oak (Quercus virginiana) and mountain cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Dormant stem xylem and pith tissues of riverbank grapes were resistant to freeze-induced dehydration above the homogeneous nucleation temperature, and they developed cell tension reaching a maximum of 27 MPa. Similarly, extracellular freezing induced cell tension in the leaves of live oak and mountain cranberry. Maximum cell tension in the leaves of live oak was 16.8 MPa and 8.3 MPa in the leaves of mountain cranberry. Following peak tensions in the leaves, a decline in the pressure was observed with progressive freezing. The results suggest that resistance to cell deformation during extracellular freezing due to cell-wall rigidity can lead to reduced cell dehydration and increased cell tension. A relationship to predict freezing behavior in plant tissues based on cell rigidity is presented. Based on cell-water relations and ice nucleation rates, cell-wall rigidity has been shown to effect the freezing characteristics of plant tissues, including freeze-induced dehydration, supercooling, and homogeneous nucleation temperatures.