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The dependence of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Contender) leaf unfolding and expansion on light has been explored in intact and excised plants by varying the duration and timing of exposure to white light. Plants were grown for 10 days in dim red light (RL), and then some were excised. Both the intact and the excised plants were then exposed to varying white light (WL) treatments. In continuous WL, leaf unfolding began after 8 h, and was maximal after 36 h. For plants exposed to short WL treatments, as little as 2 h WL elicited partial unfolding when leaves were returned to RL and measured after 60 h. The relative rate of leaf elongation was most rapid during the first 2 h of WL and it rapidly decreased during the following 6–8 h. An 8 h exposure to WL followed by 52 h RL produced only a slightly lower leaf expansion than continuous WL for 32 h. Leaf elongation after 24 h constant WL irradiance was no longer light-dependent. The response of leaves on excised plants to WL was progressively less if treatment was delayed for 24 h after excision. In contrast, leaves on intact plants did not lose their ability to respond to light even after 48 h in the dark. The ability of leaves on intact or excised plants to elongate in RL decayed rapidly after day 10. These results indicate that light-stimulated leaf expansion in beans is mediated by some factors whose transport to the leaves is influenced by the presence of roots.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Horticulture, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center ; 2: Faculty of Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; 3: Department of Botany, University of Washington


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