University Of Tasmania

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Routes of ethephon uptake in pineapple (Ananas comosus) and reasons for failure of flower induction

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 23:18 authored by Turnbull, CGN, Sinclair, ER, Anderson, KL, Nissen, R, Shorter, AJ, Lanham, TE
Ethylene-releasing agents such as ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) are used widely to induce flowering in pineapples (Ananas comosus (L.) Merrill). However, ethephon treatment is less reliable in summer, particularly if plants are treated on abnormally hot days. [14C]ethephon was used to follow uptake and translocation in leaf tissues. Up to 30% of the ethephon entered the leaf within 4 h, and up to 60% by 24 h. Uptake was dramatically modified by temperature, relative humidity, solution pH, and the surface on which solution droplets were placed. Entry occurred across the leaf cuticle and probably also by way of stomatal pores, and label was recovered at all depths within the leaf. 14C label entered more rapidly through the abaxial epidermis than through the adaxial epidermis. Low-volume spray applications to whole plants resulted in rapidly drying droplets mainly on the adaxial, distal epidermis and were rather ineffective at inducing flowering, possibly because little ethephon or ethylene reaches the shoot apex. High-volume sprays may facilitate ethephon entry because solution accumulates in leaf axils and hence remains in prolonged contact with abaxial epidermis of leaf bases close to the shoot apex. When poured into the center of the plant, 20% of a normal commercial ethephon dose induced full flowering even under adverse temperatures. It is suggested that high-volume evening spraying and avoidance of hot days may reduce the incidence of flowering failure.


Publication title

Journal of Plant Growth Regulation










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)



Place of publication

175 Fifth Ave, New York, USA, Ny, 10010

Rights statement

Copyright 1999 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Horticultural crops not elsewhere classified