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1 June 2002 High Temperatures and Net CO2 Uptake, Growth, and Stem Damage for the Hemiepiphytic Cactus Hylocereus undatus
Park S. Nobel, Erick De la Barrera
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Hylocereus undatus, which is native to tropical forests experiencing moderate temperatures, would not be expected to tolerate the extremely high temperatures that can be tolerated by cacti native to deserts. Nevertheless, total daily net CO2 uptake by this hemiepiphytic cactus, which is widely cultivated for its fruits, was optimal at day/night air temperatures of 30/20°C, temperatures that are higher than those optimal for daily net CO2 uptake by cacti native to arid and semiarid areas. Exposure to 35/25°C for 30 weeks led to lower net CO2 uptake than at 10 weeks; exposure to 40/30°C led to considerable necrosis visible on the stems at 6 weeks and nearly complete browning of the stems by 19 weeks. Dry mass gain over 31 weeks was greatest for plants at 30/20°C, with root growth being especially noteworthy and root dry mass gain representing an increasing percentage of plant dry mass gain as day/night air temperatures were increased. Viability of chlorenchyma cells, assayed by the uptake of the vital stain neutral red into the central vacuoles, was decreased 50 percent by a one-hour treatment at 55°C compared with an average of 64°C for 18 species of cacti native to deserts. The lower high-temperature tolerance for H. undatus reflected its low high-temperature acclimation of only 1.4°C as growth temperatures were raised by 10°C compared with an average acclimation of 5.3°C for the other 18 species of cacti. Thus, this tropical hemiepiphytic cactus is not adapted to day/night air temperatures above ca 40/30°C, although its net CO2 uptake is optimal at the relatively high day/night air temperatures of 30/20°C.

Park S. Nobel and Erick De la Barrera "High Temperatures and Net CO2 Uptake, Growth, and Stem Damage for the Hemiepiphytic Cactus Hylocereus undatus," BIOTROPICA 34(2), 225-231, (1 June 2002).[0225:HTANCU]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 June 2002

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cactus fruit
desert cacti
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