Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Effects of growing wheat in hypoxic nutrient solutions and of subsequent transfer to aerated solutions. I. Growth and carbohydrate status of shoots and roots

Barrett-Lennard, E.G., Leighton, P.D., Buwalda, F., Gibbs, J., Armstrong, W., Thomson, C.J. and Greenway, H. (1988) Effects of growing wheat in hypoxic nutrient solutions and of subsequent transfer to aerated solutions. I. Growth and carbohydrate status of shoots and roots. Functional Plant Biology, 15 (4). pp. 585-598.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


This paper evaluates the effects of hypoxia (imposed by flushing N2 gas through the nutrient solution) on the growth and carbohydrate status of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and the reversibility of these effects once aeration is resumed.

Plants were transferred to hypoxic nutrient solutions (containing 0.003 mol O2 m-3) at the early tillering stage, when they had 3-4 leaves, well developed seminal roots, and a few crown roots. Hypoxia for 10-14 days had little adverse effect on shoot growth, whereas the seminal roots stopped growing, i.e. elongating and increasing in dry weight; in contrast, the crown roots elongated to a maximum of 9 cm and continued to increase in dry weight. Hypoxia increased the porosity of crown roots 2-3-fold compared with those grown under aerated conditions; in contrast, the porosity of seminal roots was unaffected.

Oxygen concentrations in the gas filled pores of hypoxic crown roots (65 mm or longer) were estimated from measurements of radial oxygen loss using cylindrical platinum electrodes. Oxygen concentrations in the root tips were substantially lower than the critical oxygen pressures required for maximum respiration. Further, both oxygen concentrations in root tips and rates of root elongation were higher in shorter than in longer roots.

Plants grown in hypoxic nutrient solutions had substantially higher sugar concentrations in shoots and roots than plants grown in aerated solutions. Sugars were not deficient in hypoxic roots since concentrations over a diurnal cycle remained higher than in aerated roots in both the bulk of the seminal and crown roots, and in the tips of the crown roots. Furthermore, tips of seminal roots had similar sugar concentrations when exposed to either aerated or hypoxic solutions.

Hypoxia presumably killed seminal root apices, since the seminal axes did not resume elongation once aeration was restored. In contrast, crown roots resumed elongation when aeration was resumed. Although seminal root tips were moribund, the bulk of the seminal root was still alive. Following the transfer to aerated solutions, there was a rapid increase in the dry weight of both crown and seminal roots, in the latter case due to the proliferation of laterals.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 1988 CSIRO
Item Control Page Item Control Page