Agronomy and Horticulture Department



Brian M. Waters

Date of this Version



Published in Plant and Soil 225 (2000), pp. 21–31.


Copyright © 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Used by permission.


Dicots and non-graminaceous monocots have the ability to increase root iron(III) reducing capacity in response to iron (Fe) deficiency stress. In squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) seedlings, Fe(III) reducing capacity was quantified during early vegetative growth. When plants were grown in Fe-free solution, the Fe(III) reducing capacity was greatly elevated, reached peak activity on day 4, then declined through day 6. Root ethylene production exhibited a temporal pattern that closely matched that of Fe(III) reducing capacity through day 6. On the 7th day of Fe deficiency, cluster root morphology developed, which coincided with a sharp increase in the root Fe(III) reducing capacity, although ethylene production decreased. Localization of Fe(III) reducing capacity activity was observed during the onset of Fe deficiency and through the development of the root clusters. It was noted that localization shifted from an initial pattern which occurred along the main and primary lateral root axes, excluding the apex, to a final localization pattern in which the reductase appeared only on secondary laterals and cluster rootlets.