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Aspects of the role of cytokinins in adventitious root formation.

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The initiation and development of adventitious roots in cuttings are highly complex processes, influenced by both endogenous and exogenous factors. These vary from the environmental factors prior to the striking of the cutting, to the anatomical and physiological factors, within the stem. Encompassed are the nutrient status, physiological age and degree of differentiation of the tissues, and the balance of endogenous rooting inhibitors and/or promoters (including hormones). The role of cytokinins in root initiation and development has been perceived as that of an inhibitor. This investigation considered several aspects of the role played by cytokinins in the process of root development. A qualitative/quantitative analysis of the cytokinin-like activity in stem cuttings of several plants, including both easy- and difficult-to-root species was conducted on a comparative basis. There was no clear correlation between the type / level of cytokinins detected in the cuttings and the relative ease of root formation. Both qualitative and quantitative changes in the compounds exhibiting activity in the soybean callus bioassay were observed over the period of root formation in Impatiens stem cuttings. The effects on root formation in cuttings of exogenously applied auxins and cytokinins were investigated. Auxins generally promoted root number and elongation at relatively high concentrations (10[-4] M), but showed less effect on lateral root initiation and development. At high concentrations, cytokinins strongly inhibited root development, but did promote lateral root growth. In suspension culture, the effect of these hormones differed slightly, with IAA and IBA having no significant effect on root development, but NAA strongly stimulating lateral root initiation. Zeatin (10¯¹¹ M) significantly increased root length and the number of lateral roots produced. The effect of treatment of the stem cuttings with potassium permanganate and centrifugation was examined. While both these treatments have been perceived to increase root production in cuttings, no significant improvement in rooting ability following centrifugation (relative to the control) was observed. Impatiens cuttings centrifuged in the presence of distilled water showed a significantly reduced rooting ability relative to those centrifuged in the dry state. Treatment with an 8-hour pulse in 0.05 % potassium permanganate significantly increased the average root length. These treatments had an effect on the cytokinin levels and distribution in the stem cuttings. Slightly higher levels of cytokinins were associated with the increase in root number and length in both experiments.


Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1996.


Roots (Botany), Cytokinins., Plant cuttings., Theses--Botany.