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Red Light-inhibited Mesocotyl Elongation in Maize Seedlings: II. Kinetic and Spectral Studies 1

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Red light induces two distinct inhibition responses in mesocotyls of etiolated corn seedlings. A light dose of 10 nanoeinsteins per square centimeter is saturating for the more sensitive response, whereas doses above 1,000 nanoeinsteins per square centimeter are required to exceed the threshold sensitivity of the less sensitive one. The sensitive response can be detected within 20 minutes of the onset of illumination whereas the other response does not become apparent until more than 4 hours after the beginning of irradiation. The reciprocity law is valid for the first response, but probably not for the second. An action spectrum for the first response shows two maxima, one at 640 nanometers and the other between 660 and 670 nanometers, with a pronounced minimum near 650 nanometers. The effects both of 640 and 665 nanometers of light were reversible by far red light, but doses of far red required for full reversibility were almost three orders of magnitude greater than the doses of red required either to saturate the initial inhibition or to reverse the effect of far red light. The results suggest that corn may contain a red-absorbing pigment other than phytochrome which in some way interacts with phytochrome in the inhibition of mesocotyl elongation by red light.

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