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Ice Nucleation Temperature of Individual Leaves in Relation to Population Sizes of Ice Nucleation Active Bacteria and Frost Injury

Susan S. Hirano, L. Stuart Baker and Christen D. Upper
Plant Physiology
Vol. 77, No. 2 (Feb., 1985), pp. 259-265
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4269120
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ice Nucleation Temperature of Individual Leaves in Relation to Population Sizes of Ice Nucleation Active Bacteria and Frost Injury
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Abstract

Ice nucleation temperatures of individual leaves were determined by a tube nucleation test. With this assay, a direct quantitative relationship was obtained between the temperatures at which ice nucleation occurred on individual oat (Avena sativa L.) leaves and the population sizes of ice nucleation active (INA) bacteria present on those leaves. In the absence of INA bacteria, nucleation of supercooled growth-chamber grown oat leaves did not occur until temperatures were below approximately -5°C. Both nucleation temperature and population size of INA bacteria were determined on the same individual, field-grown oat leaves. Leaves with higher ice nucleation temperatures harbored larger populations of INA bacteria than did leaves with lower nucleation temperatures. Log10 mean populations of INA bacteria per leaf were 5.14 and 3.51 for leaves with nucleation temperatures of -2.5°C and -3.0°C, respectively. Nucleation frequencies (the ratio of ice nuclei to viable cells) of INA bacteria on leaves were lognormally distributed. Strains from two very different collections of Pseudomonas syringae and one of Erwinia herbicola were cultured on nutrient glycerol agar and tested for nucleation frequency at -5°C. Nucleation frequencies of these bacterial strains were also lognormally distributed within each of the three sets. The tube nucleation test was used to determine the frequency with which individual leaves in an oat canopy harbored large populations of INA bacteria throughout the growing season. This test also predicted relative frost hazard to tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) plants.

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