Physiology, quality, and agronomic performance of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) as affected by environment and several plant growth regulators Public Deposited

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  • Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of environment and several plant growth regulators on the physiology, quality, and agronomic performance of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L. ) and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. ). The potassium salts of naphthenic acid and cyclohexanecarboxylic acid, received particular attention. Application of potassium naphthenate solutions to the foliage of 14-day-old wheat seedlings caused significant reductions in height for the first 4 weeks after treatment. Reductions were observed in water-soluble sugars in the shoots and roots. Accompanying increases in water-soluble protein and free amino acids were measured in the shoots. No significant effect on amino acid levels was noted in the roots but increases were observed in soluble protein. The reductions in sugars and increases in proteins and amino acids indicate a shunting of carbon skeletons from carbohydrate to nitrogen metabolism. Under field conditions, 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon) and(2-chloroethyl) trimethylammonium chloride (chlormequat) regardless of rate or time of application produced significant reductions in wheat plant height. Ethephon was more effective in height reduction than chlormequat. Potassium cyclohexanecarboxylate and potassium naphthenate in many cases significantly increased the length of the uppermost internodes. Differential wheat cultivar response to growth regulator application was evident with the exception of plant height and associated measurements which were similar between cultivars with a given regulator. Changes in grain nutritional quality components exemplify these differential responses. Vitamin content was generally lowered by potassium naphthenate, and potassium naphthenate and potassium cyclohexanecarboxylate lowered the mineral content of the grain. Individual quality components appeared to be affected independently. No significant increase in snap bean yield resulted from regulator treatments in the field. Protein content was significantly increased in spring-planted snap bean pods by at least one rate of all the regulators studied with the exception of potassium cyclohexancarboxylate which lowered protein. Several growth regulators produced significant increases of B-carotene content in summerplanted snap beans whereas, ascorbic acid was significantly reduced by all applications in the spring but not in the summer planting. Controlled environment experiments where high temperature and low relative humidity were imposed had little effect on pod protein and B-carotene content. In contrast, ascorbic acid content was drastically reduced the first day after exposure to stress conditions. Though plants tended to adjust to their new growing conditions, after 5 days they had not reached levels of ascorbic acid found in unstressed control plants. Treatment with potassium naphthenate tended to lower levels more and retard adjustment to the higher temperatures. Nutritional quality in snap bean pods appeared to be affected more by the prevailing environmental conditions near harvest even though yield varied greatly between cultivars and to a lesser extent between dates of planting. Ascorbic acid content appears to be more sensitive to seasonal fluctuation in environment than B-carotene or protein content, as large variations in ascorbic acid content between planting dates were evident. Subjection of cultivars to growth at 80 and 50% relative humidity resulted in differences in growth habit though no differences were observed in yield or nutrient content. The relative ranking of yield of cultivars in controlled environments differed from that observed in the field though differences in B-carotene and ascorbic acid contents were similar. A comprehensive review of the literature pertaining to the effects of naphthenates on plants is discussed in detail. In addition, an exhaustive summarized review of the effects of naphthenates on biological systems (plants, microorganisms, warm and coldblooded animals) illustrates the wide range of biological actions of this series of naturally occurring petroleum acids.
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