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Title: Temperature influences on leaf CO2 exchange, cell viability and cultivation range for Agave tequilana
Author: Nobel, P.S.
Castaneda, M.
North, G.
Pimienta-Barrios, E.
Ruiz, A.
Issue Date: 1998
Abstract: Agave tequilana, a species exhibiting crassulacean acid metabolism, is cultivated in Mexico for its stem and attached leaf bases from which the distilled beverage tequila is obtained. The physiological reasons why its cultivation was mostly restricted to regions in Jalisco with minimum air temperatures in 1996 above -4°C and maximum temperatures below 36°C was investigated using plants under controlled conditions in the laboratory. Agave tequilana was relatively intolerant of low temperatures compared with other agaves, with poor low-temperature acclimation and a halving of uptake of the vital dye neutral red by chlorenchyma cells at -8°C for plants at low day/night temperatures of 15°C/5°C. On the other hand, a high temperature (55°C) had only a modest inhibitory effect on cellular dye uptake for plants grown at day/night temperatures of 35°C/25°C. Compared with plants grown and measured at day/night air temperatures of 15°C/5°C and 25°C/15°C, daily net CO2 uptake by leaves decreased 70% and respiratory net CO2 loss by achlorophyllous leaf bases and presumably stems increased three-fold for plants at 35°C/25°C. The restricted regions for its cultivation reflects avoidance of freezing damage at sub-zero temperatures and a daily carbon loss at day/night air temperatures of about 35°C/25Γ and above.
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