Wikipedia on abscisic acid: “Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone. ABA functions in many plant developmental processes, including seed and bud dormancy, the control of organ size and stomatal closure. It is especially important for plants in the response to environmental stresses, including drought, soil salinity, cold tolerance, freezing tolerance, heat stress and heavy metal ion tolerance”
OK. An important hormone indeed.
So what happens when a little extra is added as a foliar spray to Egyptian sugar beets two weeks prior to harvest? I say “Egyptian” to highlight the fact these beets are not growing under Nordic conditions, even if the temperatures under the growing season were 14 to 29 degrees.
Well, it seems that sugar concentration at harvest increases by quite a bit. At 3000ppm, sucrose percent was up from 14.67% to 15.25% (averages of the two years reported in the study). I’m not sure what happened to total sucrose, but the rate of loss of sugar after harvest was pretty scary – down 2.5 percentage points between 2 and 8 days after harvest. This is probably something to do with the 29 +- 2 degree reported as the sampling temperature post harvest. Table 6 suggests it is not the ABA.
Response of Some Sugar Beet Varieties to Abscisic Acid Under Different Storage Periods
Nadia K. El-Safy1; Hossam M. El-Sharnoby1; and Amr M. El-Sheikh2
1-Plant physiology and Chemistry Dept., Sugar Crops Research Inst., ARC, Egypt.
2-Breed and genetic Dept., Sugar Crops Research Inst., ARC, Egypt.