Starch utilization, root bud correlative inhibition, and endogenous indole-3-acetic acid levels in leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.)
Nissen, Scott Jay
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Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) is a rapidly spreading perennial rangeland weed which continues to persist and spread despite increased efforts at biological and chemical control. The persistence of leafy spurge can be traced directly to the plant’s root carbohydrate reserves and its effective means of vegetative reproduction. Research was initiated to examine aspects of these two important survival mechanisms . Utilization of leaf, stem, root and latex starch was monitored in leafy spurge plants during a 52 day light starvation period. Leaf, stem and root starch levels decreased rapidly in light starved plants; however, detectable levels of starch were present even after 52 days without light. Latex starch levels did not change significantly. Amylase activity was present in the latex; however, latex starch granules were found to be resistant to enzymatic hydrolysis. Results indicated that latex starch granules do not function as a source of utilizable carbohydrate. Root buds were found to be quiescent during most of the growing season due to correlative inhibition rather than innate dormancy. Innate dormancy occurred when plants were in full flower; however, elongation could be stimulated by chilling intact plants for 8 days at 4 C. Exogenous applications of indole-3-acetic acid and napthalene-acetic acid at concentrations of 10 -3 M and 10 -5 M respectively, completely inhibited elongation of excised root buds. Significant increases in root bud elongation were produced by 1 mM 2,3,5-tri-iodobenzoic acid applied to stem and root tissue. These data provide evidence for the involvement of IAA in correlative control of root bud growth. Primary root and root bud endogenous IAA levels were determined at three phenologic stages: vegetative, full flower and post flower. Free IAA levels were highest in root bud of full flowering plants which were found in previous studies to have a diminished capacity to elongate. Levels of conjugated IAA increased during phenologic development. Primary root free IAA levels did not appear related to lowered root bud elongation during full flower.