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Estimating heat tolerance of plants by ion leakage: A new method based on gradual heating.

Autor: Ilík P., Špundová M., Šicner M., Melkovičová H., Kučerová Z., Krchňák P., Fürst T., Večeřová K., Panzarová K, Benediktyová Z., Trtílek M.Published: New Phytologist 218(3), 1278-1287Year: 2018

Heat tolerance of plants related to cell membrane thermostability is commonly estimated via the measurement of ion leakage from plant segments after defined heat treatment. To compare heat tolerance of various plants, it is crucial to select suitable heating conditions. This selection is time-consuming and the optimization of conditions for all investigated plants can be even impossible. Another problem of this method is its tendency to overestimate the basal heat tolerance.

Here we present an improved ion leakage method, which does not suffer from these drawbacks. This method is based on gradual heating of plant segments in a water bath or algal suspensions from room temperature up to 70–75°C.

The electric conductivity of the bath/suspension, which is measured continuously during the heating, abruptly increases at a certain temperature TCOND (within 55–70°C). The TCOND value can be taken as a measure of cell membrane thermostability, representing heat tolerance of plants/organisms.

Higher TCOND temperature corresponds to higher heat tolerance (basal or acquired) connected with higher thermostability of cell membrane, as evidenced by the common ion leakage method. The new method also enables the determination of thermostability of photochemical reactions in photosynthetic samples via the simultaneous measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence.

Department of Biophysics

Faculty of Science

Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic

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