Dark exposure of petunia cuttings strongly improves adventitious root formation and enhances carbohydrate availability during rooting in the light.
The effect of temporary dark exposure on adventitious root formation (ARF) in Petunia×hybrida ‘Mitchell’ cuttings was investigated. Histological and metabolic changes in the cuttings during the dark treatment and subsequent rooting in the light were recorded. Excised cuttings were exposed to the dark for seven days at 10 °C followed by a nine-day rooting period in perlite or were rooted immediately for 16 days in a climate chamber at 22/20 °C (day/night) and a photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 100 μmol m−2 s−1. Dark exposure prior to rooting increased, accelerated and synchronized ARF. The rooting period was reduced from 16 days (non-treated cuttings) to 9 days (treated cuttings). Under optimum conditions, despite the reduced rooting period, dark-exposed cuttings produced a higher number and length of roots than non-treated cuttings. An increase in temperature to 20 °C during the dark treatment or extending the cold dark exposure to 14 days caused a similar enhancement of root development compared to non-treated cuttings. Root meristem formation had already started during the dark treatment and was enhanced during the subsequent rooting period. Levels of soluble sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and starch in leaf and basal stem tissues significantly decreased during the seven days of dark exposure. This depletion was, however, compensated during rooting after 6 and 24 h for soluble sugars in leaves and the basal stem, respectively, whereas the sucrose level in the basal stem was already increased at 6 h. The association of higher carbohydrate levels with improved rooting in previously dark-exposed versus non-treated cuttings indicates that increased post-darkness carbohydrate availability and allocation towards the stem base contribute to ARF under the influence of dark treatment and provide energy for cell growth subject to a rising sink intensity in the base of the cutting.
Klopotek, Y.; Haensch, K.-T.; Hause, B.; Hajiezaei; M.-R.; Druege, U. 2010. Dark exposure of petunia cuttings strongly improves adventitious root formation and enhances carbohydrate availability during rooting in the light. Journal of Plant Physiology 167, 547-554.