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A Screening Test for the Determination of Ethylene Sensitivity

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Abstract

Ethephon, which releases ethylene within plant tissues after application, was chosen to perform assessments of the relative sensitivity of crops to ethylene and to determine which stages of plant development were most sensitive. The species chosen were: barley, wheat, oats, canola and field pea, all of which are important crops in the province of Alberta, Canada. Plants were treated with ethephon at one of 7 different stages. Plants were assessed for their vegetative and reproductive growth, including height, biomass, yield and seed quality. Visual symptoms were photographed and documented to compare them with symptoms caused by ethylene applied as a gas. It was concluded that in barley, wheat and canola the late vegetative and early reproductive stages were most sensitive, at least when sensitivity was defined as reductions in yield and quality. As for field pea, ethephon had no effect on yield but did cause increased numbers of pods, which in certain conditions could lead to increased yields. Significant effects on vegetative growth were only observed in the early vegetative stages of development but with no effects on yield. The screening protocol successfully identified sensitive cultivars and growth stages for further investigation of the effects of ethylene exposure.

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Correspondence to Daniel J. Archambault.

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Archambault, D.J., Li, X., Foster, K.R. et al. A Screening Test for the Determination of Ethylene Sensitivity. Environ Monit Assess 115, 509–530 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-006-7227-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-006-7227-z

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