Physiology of Sugarcane Under Water Stress: Invertase, ATP-ase and Amylase Behavior in Plants Experiencing Water Deficiency, Night Flooding and Continuous Flooding

How to Cite

Alexander, A. G., Samuels, G., Spain, G. L., & Montalvo-Zapata, R. (1972). Physiology of Sugarcane Under Water Stress: Invertase, ATP-ase and Amylase Behavior in Plants Experiencing Water Deficiency, Night Flooding and Continuous Flooding. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 56(2), 115–133.


Effects of water stress on growth, sugar production and enzymology of sugarcane were evaluated in two greenhouse experiments in which sugarcane of the variety P.R. 980 was grown in sand culture with controlled nutrient supply. At 14 weeks of age, four water regimes were created for each of the two experiments: No water, normal water (2 liters daily), normal water plus night flooding, and continuous flooding. One experiment was pretreated with a 0.01-percent solution of active gibberellic acid (GA) 10 days before water variables were initiated. Samples of leaf, leaf sheath, immature storage tissue and stalk tissue were harvested at 0, 2, 5, and 9 days. Enzyme assays were conducted with leaf and immature storage tissue preparations for acid invertase, adenosine triphosphatase (ATP-ase), and ß-amylase. The following results were obtained: 1. Foliar symptoms appeared between the fifth and ninth day among the low-water and continuous flooding regimes. Wilting of leaves and leaf sheaths, yellowing of leaf tips, extensive yellowing of older leaves and leaf sheaths, and severe curling of spindle tissues was general among both treatments. Symptoms were delayed but not prevented by GA pretreatment. Normal water and night flooding produced no visible effects. Whorls of adventitious roots grew from submerged nodes of continuously flooded plants. 2. Sheath moisture values ultimately declined in water-deficient and water-toxic plants regardless of GA treatment. Continuously flooded plants increased total fresh weight, regardless of leaf and sheath desiccation, when pretreated with GA. A GA role in promoting water uptake is suggested. 3. Leaf sucrose declined in water-deficient and continuously flooded sugarcane but increased in immature storage tissues. This was taken as evidence of continued sucrose transport under moisture conditions restrictive against sugar synthesis. Polarization values for milled juice indicated that GA pretreatment caused a decline of storage sucrose under a normal water regime, but GA prevented storage sucrose losses under a regime of continuous flooding. The former GA effect is interpreted in terms of growth stimulation, the latter in terms of GA involvement in sugar accumulation processes effective in transport of sucrose to storage areas. 4. Invertase was suppressed both by deficient and excessive water regimes and by GA pretreatment. Night flooding produced little effect. 5. ATP-ase was strongly suppressed by night flooding but no consistent effects were produced by the other water regimes. The ATP-ase suppression by excessive night water was interpreted as a perturbation of normal diurnal-nocturnal rhythms rather than a sensitivity of synthesis mechanisms to flooding per se. GA pretreatment suppressed ATP-ase among all water regimes. Assuming that foliar ATP-ase is a functional entity of photosynthetic phosphorylation, the GA effect was taken as further evidence of a GA influence upon sugarcane photosynthesis. 6. Foliar amylase remained at a constant level in water-deficient cane, while other water regimes tended to increase the enzyme. Amylase was less sensitive to water regime than invertase and appeared to be synthesized under flood conditions highly repressive for invertase. It is concluded that low- and high-water regimes tend to produce common effects upon the overall synthesis and utilization of sugar in the cane plant. Hormone level may affect the rate of sugar utilization within high and low water regimes without altering the outward manifestations of these regimes. Hydrolytic enzyme level is apparently affected indirectly by prolonged water stress or by perturbation of endogenous day-night rhythms. However, the enzymes measured were not sufficiently sensitive to changing water supply to serve as indicators of water status.


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