Effect of plant growth regulators on ethylene production, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid oxidase activity, and initiation of inflorescence development of pineapple

  • X.-j. Min
  • D. P. BartholomewEmail author


With the development of pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.] as a fresh fruit crop, it became common to force inflorescence development with ethephon [(2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid] or ethylene throughout the year. Environmental induction (EI) of inflorescence development disrupts scheduling of fruit harvest and may cause significant losses if small plants are induced, resulting in fruits that are too small to be marketable. Our objective was to identify plant growth regulators (PGRs) that could inhibit EI. Because circumstantial evidence indicates that EI occurs in response to naturally produced ethylene or changes in plant sensitivity to it, most work was done with PGRs that inhibit ethylene biosynthesis or block ethylene action. The synthetic auxin 2-(3-chlorophenoxy)propionic acid (CPA) was included because in one study it reduced the percentage of EI. GA3, aminooxyacetic acid (AOA), aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), daminozide [butanedioic acid mono-(2,2-dimethylhydrazide)], and silver thiosulfate (STS) had no effect on EL CPA, paclobutrazol [(2RS,3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)methyl-4,4-dimethyl-2(1h-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)penten-3-ol], and uniconazole [(E)-(p-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-1-penten-3-ol] delayed or inhibited EI of pot-grown pineapple plants. Uniconazole and paclobutrazol inhibited growth and ethylene production by leaf basal-white tissue, and either or both effects could account for the inhibition of EI. Production of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) was unaffected by these compounds, but the activity of ACC oxidase, which converts ACC to ethylene, was inhibited and probably accounts for the reduced ethylene production by leaf basal-white tissue. CPA stimulated ethylene production by stem apical tissue approximately fourfold relative to the control. ACC oxidase activity and the malonyl-ACC (MACC) content in stem apical tissue were also greater than in the control, indicating that CPA greatly stimulated the production of ACC and its sequestration into MACC. The mechanism by which CPA delayed or inhibited EI is not known. CPA, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole appear to have some potential for inhibiting EI of pineapple. Their effect on yield needs to be determined.

Key Words

Pineapple flower induction Paclobutrazol Uniconazole Ethylene production 


ACC oxidase

1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid oxidase


2-(3-chlorophenoxy)propionic acid


aminooxyacetic acid




butanedioic acid mono-(2,2-dimethylhydrazide)


dry mass


[(2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid]


fresh mass




environmental induction of inflorescence development


inflorescence appearance


Fisher's protected least significant difference




naphthaleneacetic acid


plant growth regulator






silver thiosulfate


fourth leaf


first leaf younger than M-leaf


  1. Abeles FB, Morgan PW, Saltveit ME Jr (1992) Ethylene in plant biology. 2nd ed. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartholomew DP (1977) Inflorescence development of pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.] induced to flower with ethephon. Bot Gaz 138:312–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartholomew DP (1985) Ananas comosus. In: Halevy AH (ed) Handbook of flowering, Vol 1. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL pp. 450–454Google Scholar
  4. Bartholomew DP, Criley RA (1983) Tropical fruit and beverage crops. In: Nickell LG (ed) Plant growth regulating chemicals. Vol 2. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL pp. 1–11Google Scholar
  5. Bartholomew DP, Malézieux E (1994) Pineapple. In: Schaffer B, Andersen PC (eds) Handbook of environmental physiology of fruit crops. Vol. 2. Subtropical and tropical crops. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 243–291Google Scholar
  6. Bartholomew DP, Paull RE (1986) Pineapple. In: Monselise SP (ed) Handbook of fruit set and development. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 371–388Google Scholar
  7. Burg SP, Burg EA (1966) Auxin-induced ethylene formation: Its relation to flowering in the pineapple. Science 152:1269PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davis TD, Curry EA (1991) Chemical regulation of vegetative growth. Crit Rev Plant Sci 10:151–188Google Scholar
  9. Davis TD, Steffens GL, Sankhla N (1988) Triazole plant growth regulators. Hortic Rev 10:63–105Google Scholar
  10. Gowing DP (1956) A hypothesis of the role of naphthaleneacetic acid in the flower induction on the pineapple. Am J Bot 43:411–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gowing DP (1961) Experiments on the photoperiodic response in pineapple. Am J Bot 48:16–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gowing DP, Leeper RW (1960) Studies on the relation of chemical structure to plant growth regulator activity in the pineapple plant. I. Substituted phenyl and phenoxyalkylcarboxylic acids. Bot Gaz 121:143–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grossmann K (1990) Plant growth retardants as tools in physiological research. Physiol Plant 78:640–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grossmann K, Hauser C, Sauerbrey D, Fritsch H, Schmidt O, Jung J (1989) Plant growth retardants as inhibitors of ethylene production. J Plant Physiol 134:538–543Google Scholar
  15. Gussman CD, Salas S, Gianfagna TJ (1993) Daminozide inhibits ethylene production in apple fruit by blocking the conversion of methionine to aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC). Plant Growth Regul 12:149–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hoffman NE, Yang SF, McKeon T (1982) Identification of 1-(malonylamino)cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid as a major conjugate of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, an ethylene precursor in higher plants. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 104:765–770PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hofstra G, Krieg LC, Fletcher RA (1989) Uniconazole reduces ethylene and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid and increases spermine levels in mung bean seedlings. J Plant Growth Regul 8:45–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Izumi K, Nakagawa S, Kobayashi M, Oshio H, Sakurai A, Takahashi N (1988) Levels of IAA, cytokinins, ABA, and ethylene in rice plants as affected by a gibberellin biosynthesis inhibitor, uniconazole-P. Plant Cell Physiol 29:97–104Google Scholar
  19. Krause TE, Murr DP, Fletcher RA (1991) Uniconazole inhibits stress-induced ethylene in wheat and soybean seedlings. J Plant Growth Regul 10:229–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leeper RW (1965) Factors influencing forcing and delaying: A review. PRI News 13:109–121 (unpublished report of the Pineapple Research Institute of Hawaii)Google Scholar
  21. Lizada MC, Yang SF (1979) A simple and sensitive assay for 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid. Anal Biochem 100:140–145PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lurssen K (1987) The use of inhibitors of gibberellin and sterol biosynthesis to probe hormone action. In: Hoad GV, Lenton JR, Jackson MB, Atkin RD (eds) Hormone action in plant development: A critical appraisal. Butterworths, London, U.K. pp. 133–144Google Scholar
  23. Mekers O, De Proft M, Jacobs L (1983) Prevention of unwanted flowering of ornamental Bromeliaceae by growth regulating chemicals. Acta Hort 137:217–223Google Scholar
  24. Millar-Watt D (1981) Control of natural flowering in Smooth Cayenne pineapple, Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. Subtropica 2:17–19Google Scholar
  25. Min XJ, Bartholomew DP (1993) Effects of growth regulators on ethylene production and floral initiation of pineapple. Acta Hort 334:101–112Google Scholar
  26. Sanford WG, Bartholomew DP (1981) Effects of silver and cobalt ions on floral induction of pineapple by ethephon. HortScience 16:442Google Scholar
  27. Scott CH (1993) The effect of two plant growth regulators on the inhibition of precocious fruiting in pineapple. Acta Hort 334:77–82Google Scholar
  28. Sitrit Y, Riov J, Blumenfeld A (1988) Interference of phenolic compounds with the 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid assay. Plant Physiol 86:13–15PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Starrett DA, Laties GG (1991) The effect of ethylene and propylene pulses on respiration, ripening advancement, ethylene-forming enzyme, and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase activity in avocado fruit. Plant Physiol 95:921–927PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Suwunnamek U (1993) Effect of paclobutrazol, thiourea, and pendimethalin alone or in combination on the induction of suckering in pineapple. Acta Hort 334:93–99Google Scholar
  31. Van Overbeek J, Cruzado HJ (1948) Flower formation in the pineapple plant by geotropic stimulation. Am J Bot 35:410–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wang SY, Steffens GL (1985) Effect of paclobutrazol on water stress-induced ethylene biosynthesis and polyamine accumulation in apple seedling leaves. Phytochemistry 24:2185–2190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yamaji H, Katsura N, Nishijima T, Koshioka M (1991) Effects of soil applied uniconazole and prohexadione calcium on the growth and endogenous gibberellin content of Lycopersicon esculentum Mill, seedlings. J Plant Physiol 138:763–764Google Scholar
  34. Yang SF, Hoffman NE (1984) Ethylene biosynthesis and its regulation in higher plants. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 35:155–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botany DepartmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy and Soil ScienceUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations