Tolerances and acclimation to low and high temperatures for cladodes, fruits and roots of a widely cultivated cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica
Article first published online: 24 JAN 2003
Volume 157, Issue 2, pages 271–279, February 2003
How to Cite
Nobel, P. S. and De la Barrera, E. (2003), Tolerances and acclimation to low and high temperatures for cladodes, fruits and roots of a widely cultivated cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica. New Phytologist, 157: 271–279. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-8137.2003.00675.x
- Issue published online: 24 JAN 2003
- Article first published online: 24 JAN 2003
- Received: 6 September 2002 Accepted: 1 November 2002
- Opuntia ficus-indica;
- prickly pear;
- temperature acclimation;
- temperature tolerances
- •Opuntia ficus-indica , a cactus widely cultivated for fruits and forage/fodder, has shoots composed of flattened stem segments (cladodes) that are relatively sensitive to freezing temperatures below −6°C but extremely tolerant of high temperatures up to 65°C. Based on the uptake of the vital strain neutral red, fruits and roots were damaged by 60 min below −7°C or above 55°C.
- •Young (6 wk old) and mature (1-yr-old) cladodes had 1.2°C greater low-temperature tolerance at day/night air temperatures of 20 : 10°C compared with 30 : 20°C and 2.8°C lower high-temperature tolerance. Fruits and roots (both 6 wk old) showed no such low-temperature acclimation; roots had high-temperature acclimation similar to that of cladodes, but fruits showed no high-temperature acclimation.
- •High-temperature tolerance did not change with age for cladodes and fruits up to 10 wk old nor did low-temperature tolerance for cladodes, but fruit low-temperature tolerance decreased by 2.6°C from 4.5 to 10 wk of age, a time when sugars, which can act as cryoprotectants, were increasing.
- •Cladodes showed 2.0°C greater tolerance of low temperatures with age up to 10 yr and 6.5°C greater high-temperature tolerance, which helps prevent the death of plants, especially during episodic freezing events.