Influence of electrolytes on growth, phototropism, nutation and surface potential in etiolated cucumber seedlings

E. P. SPALDING, Daniel J. Cosgrove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

A variety of electrolytes (10–30 mol m−3) increased the relative growth rate of etiolated cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Burpee's Pickler) hypocotyls by 20–50% relative to water‐only controls. The nonelectrolyte mannitol inhibited growth by 10%. All salts tested were effective, regardless of chemical composition or valence. Measurements of cell‐sap osmolality ruled out an osmotic mechanism for the growth stimulation by electrolytes. This, and the nonspecificity of the response, indicate that an electrical property of the solutions was responsible for their growth‐stimulating activity. Measurements of surface electrical potential supported this reasoning. Treatment with electrolytes also enhanced nutation and altered the pattern of phototropic curvature development. A novel analytical method for quantitating these effects on growth was developed. The evidence indicates that electrolytes influence an electrophysiological parameter that is involved in the control of cell expansion and the coordination of growth underlying tropisms and nutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-451
Number of pages7
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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