Effects of exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) on cucumber seedling leaf carbohydrate metabolism under low temperature

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Seedlings with four true leaves of cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.), Guonong No.25 (a cold-tolerant cultivar) and Guonong No.41 (a cold sensitive cultivar), were grown under normal or low temperature conditions: 25°C/18°C or 15°C/8°C (day/night). The seedlings of Guonong No.25 under low temperature were also treated with or without exogenous ABA. The purpose of our study was to find out the effects of low temperature and exogenous ABA application on the carbohydrate metabolism in the cucumber plants. Time course changes of carbohydrate contents and activities of stachyose synthase and alkaline α-galactosidase in the seedling leaves were investigated after the treatment. Our results show that compared to the seedlings under temperatures of 25°C/18°C, the seedlings of the both tested genotypes under 15°C/8°C (day/night) have significantly higher contents of all measured soluble carbohydrates. Significant difference in stachyose synthase activity is observed between the two genotypes under normal temperature or low temperature. Under normal temperature, leaf stachyose synthase activity in Guonong No.41 is higher than that in Guonong No.25. The stachyose synthase activity of Guonong No.41 decreases sharply under low temperature, but that of Guonong No.25 increases 3 days after treatment and then decreases to the original level. In contrast, there is no significant genotypic difference in alkaline α-galactosidase activity. Additionally, compared to the control seedlings treated with 0 μM ABA, the seedlings treated with 50 and 150 μM ABA accumulate substantial amounts of all tested soluble carbohydrates except galactose whereas 250 μM ABA treated seedlings show decreased levels of all these soluble carbohydrates. Stachyose synthase activity increases significantly upon 50 and 150 μM ABA treatments.

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