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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Allen, Damian
item Ort, Donald

Submitted to: Trends in Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/31/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Crop species that are considered to be 'chilling sensitive' include some of the commercially most significant crops in temperature North America (e.g. corn, soybean, cotton and others). These plants are botanical immigrants from tropical and subtropical origins where selection pressures to deal with low temperature do not exist. Photosynthetic metabolism is among the most chill sensitive processes in these plants, and the chilling sensitivity of photosynthesis plays a critical role both in limiting the geographical range where these crops are grown as well as accounting for the annual variation in the economic success of these crops when grown at the northern border of their cultivation. An improvement of even one degree in the low temperature tolerance would have a far reaching beneficial impact on the agronomy of these important crop species. In this review, a main thrust is to demonstrate the diversity of the underlying biochemistry and molecular biology of chilling sensitivity in different crops and under differing circumstances. It is important for crop breeders and plant engineers to recognize the differing basis for chilling sensitivity of crop plant varieties in the search for improved chilling tolerance of photosynthetic productivity in crops.

Technical Abstract: Photosynthesis in warm-climate plants is substantially reduced by chilling temperatures. Species of tropical and sub-tropical origin offer the opportunity to study the effects of low temperature on photosynthetic processes undisguised by the myriad of protective responses observed in temperate species. In this review we highlight the primary components of photosynthesis which are impacted by chilling, both in the dark and the light, and discuss what is known of the mechanisms involved. Recent work implicates the involvement of impaired redox and circadian regulation, amongst other processes.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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