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Responses to ultraviolet-B radiation (280-315 nm) of pea (Pisum sativum) lines differing in leaf surface wax

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/1996
<mark>Journal</mark>Physiologia Plantarum
Issue number4
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)852-860
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


To test the hypothesis that leaf surface wax influences plant responses to UV-B, 6 lines of cultivated pea (Pisum sativum L.), selected as having more or less wax, were grown at 0 or 6.5 kJ m(-2) day(-1) plant weighted UV-B against a background of 850-950 mu mol m(-2) s(-1) photosynthetically active radiation In the 4 lines with least leaf surface wax the amount of wax on adaxial and abaxial leaf surfaces was increased following exposure to 6.5 kJ m(-2) day(-1) UV-B, but UV-B decreased surface wax in Scout, which had the greatest wax deposits. On the adaxial leaf surface, UV-B radiation caused a shift in wax composition from alcohols to esters and hydrocarbons and the ratio of short to long chain length alkyl ester homologues was increased. There was no evidence of a shortening in carbon chain length of hydrocarbons, primary alcohols or fatty acids due to UV-B and no significant correlation between wax amount and UV reflectance from leaves.

UV-B induced significant increases in UV-absorbing compounds in the expanded leaves and buds of most lines. UV-B reduced the growth of all lines. Foliage area (leaves plus stipules) declined by 5-30%, plant dry weight by 12-30%, and plant height by 24-38%. Reductions in growth occurred in the absence of any changes in chlorophyll fluorescence or photosynthetic rate. UV-B also had no major effect on carbon allocation patterns. The effects of UV-B on growth appeared to be due to changes in tissue extension and expansion. Indeed, many of the responses to UV-B observed in this study of pea appear more consistent with indirect effects being expressed in developing tissues rather than through the direct action of UV-B on mature tissues.

There was no evidence that wax amount or biochemistry was associated with the sensitivity of the lines to UV-B radiation. Furthermore, induction of pigments was not correlated with changes in growth. However, lines with the greatest constitutive amounts of pigments in unexpanded bud tissues were most tolerant of elevated UV-B.