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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |         Contents Vol 38(11)

Physiological and morphological factors influencing leaf, rhizome and stolon tensile strength in C4 turfgrass species

Filippo Lulli A D, Lorenzo Guglielminetti B, Nicola Grossi A, Roberto Armeni C, Sara Stefanini B and Marco Volterrani A

A Department of Agronomy and Management of the Agroecosystem, University of Pisa, Via San Michele degli Scalzi 2, 56124, Pisa, Italy.
B Department of Plant Crop Biology, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge 23, 56124, Pisa, Italy.
C Labosport Italia Srl, Viale Monza 80, 23870, Cernusco Lombardone, Lecco, Italy.
D Corresponding author. Email: flulli@agr.unipi.it

Functional Plant Biology 38(11) 919-926 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP11070
Submitted: 16 March 2011  Accepted: 27 August 2011   Published: 7 October 2011

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The intrinsic resistance of plant tissue to several biomechanical stresses, including tensile stress, is a decisive factor in determining the wear resistance of a turfgrass species. Lignin, dry matter, starch, sugars and silica are some of the tissue constituents that have been associated with leaf and stem mechanical resistance, whereas little information is available concerning stolons and rhizomes. These organs not only enable C4 turfgrass species lateral growth, soil colonisation and injury recovery, but are also key constituents of mature swards. This study consisted in an extensive investigation on the effective leaf, stolon and rhizome tensile strength of Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. var. dactylon × C. transvaalensis Burt-Davy cv. Tifway 419, Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr. cv. Zeon and Paspalum vaginatum Swartz. cv. Salam, as measured with a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)-approved dynamometer and correlating the results with laboratory investigations on key tissue constituents. Tensile strength per unit area was influenced by both tissue constituents and tissue dimension. In rhizomes and stolons, tissue breakage usually occurred in the area at the intercalary meristem at the apical zone in the immediate proximity of a node. Older tissues had higher tensile strength owing to their higher levels of lignification. Lignin was the principal constituent determining tissue tensile strength and as such it could be used as a turfgrass wear resistance predictor in the cultivar breeding stages. Stolon total soluble sugars were generally inversely proportional to lignin content and, therefore, can also be considered clear markers of tissue mechanical strength. Silica was found to have no influence on the mechanical properties tissues.

Additional keywords: abiotic stress, Bermudagrass, football, fructose, glucose, golf, lignin, manilagrass, silica, seashore paspalum, sports turf, starch, sucrose, traction, zoysiagrass.


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