Development of laboratory-based methods for assessing seedling thermotolerance in pearl millet

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In this paper, the response to temperature of three physiological processes has been examined in detail in seedlings of sorghum and pearl millet. These have been compared with their field performance under high temperature conditions with the aim of developing laboratory-based screening techniques for seedling thermotolerance. Membrane thermostability, as assessed by electrolyte leakage, seedling re-growth and protein synthetic ability were measured in seedlings exposed to a range of temperatures using a thermal gradient bar. The effect of genotype, seedling age and pre-treatment was examined. Differences between genotypes were only apparent after seedlings had been given a brief high temperature pre-treatment (2 h at 43 °C). Similar results were found with all three methods used and their suitability for use in the screening of large numbers of entries is discussed. Significant correlation was found between the ability of membrane thermostability to acclimate and seedling survival in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1997


  • Electrolyte leakage
  • Growth
  • Protein synthesis
  • Screening techniques
  • Thermotolerance


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