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Keywords:

  • Alternative pathway;
  • cold acclimation;
  • Picea glauca;
  • respiration;
  • roots;
  • temperature;
  • white spruce

Interactions between growth temperature and measurement temperature were examined for their effects on white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss] root respiration. Total dark respiration rates increased with measurement temperature and were unaffected by growth temperature. Partitioning of respiratory electron flow between the cytochrome and alternative pathways was also unaffected by growth temperature. The proportion of respiration mediated by the alternative pathway was constant at measurement temperatures between 4°C and 18°C, but was increased at higher temperatures. Changes in alternative pathway activity were paralleled by changes in capacity, and the alternative pathway was almost fully engaged at all temperatures. Roots grown at low temperature displayed higher carbohydrate levels than roots grown at higher temperatures, but respiration rate was unaffected. Spruce root respiration did not appear to acclimate to growth temperature, and the alternative pathway was not preferentially engaged at low temperature.