Submitted to: Plant Stress Physiology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2011
Publication Date: 11/25/2011
Citation: Gusta, L.V., Wisniewski, M.E. 2011. Frost tolerance in plants. In: Shabala, S., editor. Plant Stress Physiology. CABI, Oxford. p. 132-147. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: When conducting studies to characterize and determine the underlying mechanisms for freezing tolerance, it is essential to take into account that the type and form of freezing injury varies with the species and its degree of freezing tolerance. There are at least seven different patterns of freezing injury, the manifestation of which is dependent in part on tissue water content, plant structure and architecture, degree of super-cooling, the ability to resist photo-inhibition, the ability to generate new roots, etc. Some cells are injured by the mechanical force of growing ice crystals that rupture the plasma membrane and can cause splitting of leaf and bark tissues. Prolonged periods of subzero temperatures can result in freeze induced desiccation and the production of free radicals under high irradiance at low or subzero temperatures. A comprehensive understanding of the biology of the species that is being investigated can greatly assist in identifying the type of injury that must be addressed. The type of injury, as well as the factors limiting freezing tolerance, can change from fall through mid-winter to late spring and this also needs to be taken into account. Finally, any protocols designed to assess freezing injury should be designed to take into account the above mentioned statements in order to ensure that the information derived from the study provides accurate information on the problem that is being investigated.