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The effect of low temperatures on fatty acid biosynthesis in plants

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1. Of three systems, bulb tissue, plant leaf tissue and intact green algal (Chlorella vulgaris) cells, only the former shows an increase in rate of formation of unsaturated fatty acids with decrease in temperature. 2. In bulb tissue the oxygen concentration is rate-limiting for synthesis of unsaturated fatty acids at temperatures down to 10°. 3. At elevated oxygen concentrations the formation of unsaturated fatty acids in bulb tissue increases with temperature. 4. The failure of photosynthetic tissues to respond to either lower temperatures or increased oxygen concentrations in the presence of light is attributed to photosynthetic production of excess of oxygen. This is supported by the fact that in the dark a potentiating oxygen effect on the formation of unsaturated fatty acids can be demonstrated. 5. The HCO3− ion concentration has a small effect on the formation of unsaturated fatty acids. 6. Elevated content of unsaturated acids at lower temperatures in plants is attributed to increases in oxygen concentration in solution.


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