Cyanide‐resistant respiration in roots and leaves. Measurements with intact tissues and isolated mitochondria

Hans Lambers, David A. Day, Joaquín Azcón‐Bieto

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80 Citations (Scopus)


A comparison was made between the oxygen uptake of roots and leaves and of mitochondria isolated from the same tissues. Ten species were included in this study: three legumes, one C3‐monocotyledon, one C4‐monocotyledon, the rest non‐leguminous C3‐dicotyledons. Root and leaf respiration in all species examined displayed substantial resistance to KCN (0.1–1.0 mM) and the cyanide‐resistant respiration was completely inhibited by salicylhydroxamic acid (SHAM; 10–20 mM). SHAM alone inhibited oxygen uptake to varying degrees, depending on the species. Mitochondria were isolated from roots and leaves of many of the species examined and also displayed cyanide‐resistant oxygen uptake, which was sensitive to both SHAM and tetraethylthiuram disulfide (disulfiram). Concentrations of SHAM greater than 2 mM caused inhibition of the cytochrome path as well as of the alternative path in isolated mitochondria. Respiration rates of intact roots and leaves in the presence of varying concentrations of SHAM alone were plotted against those obtained in the presence of both SHAM and KCN. This plot showed that in vivo the cytochrome pathway was not affected by 10 or 20 mM SHAM in the external solution. We conclude that the activity of the alternative pathway in intact roots and leaves can be reliably estimated by comparing SHAM‐sensitivity and cyanide‐resistance of respiration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-154
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1983
Externally publishedYes


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