Priming with Vitamin U Enhances Cold Tolerance of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.)

  • Laszlo FODORPATAKI Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Biology and Geology, Hungarian Department of Biology and Ecology, 1 M. Kogalniceanu St., RO 400084, Cluj-Napoca
  • Katalin MOLNAR Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Department of Horticulture, 1C Sighisoarei Rd., RO 540485, Targu Mures
  • Bernat TOMPA Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Biology and Geology, Hungarian Department of Biology and Ecology, 1 M. Kogalniceanu St., RO 400084, Cluj-Napoca
  • Sebastian R. C. PLUGARU Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Materials and Environmental Engineering, 103-105 Muncii Bd., RO 400641, Cluj-Napoca
Keywords: ascorbate; biomass production; carotenoids; germination; photosynthesis; S-methylmethionine


Priming may be an efficient pre-treatment of plants in order to enhance their ability to cope with unfavourable growth conditions, and to improve defensive metabolism through elevated levels of protective substances which may also act as health-promoting agents upon human consumption. The aim of this work was to evaluate the beneficial influence of priming with the naturally occurring, but scarcely known vitamin U (S-methylmethionine) on cold stress tolerance of lettuce (the frequently grown ‘May King’ cultivar). Effects on germination, photosynthetic efficiency, as well as on health-promoting carotenoid and vitamin C contents were investigated. Photosynthetic capacity, strongly related to productivity, was evaluated with parameters of induced chlorophyll fluorescence and of leaf gas exchange through stomata, using plants grown in hydroponic cultures. Priming with vitamin U significantly compensated for the delaying effect of low temperature (5 °C) on seed germination, as well as for inhibition of light-converting photochemical reactions and of carbon dioxide assimilation by cold stress. Use of vitamin U to prime lettuce plantlets for low temperature stress resulted in an elevated content of carotenoid pigments and of vitamin C in leaves, which improve the quality of consumed lettuce with respect to the health-promoting capacity. This beneficial influence of vitamin U was not proportional with its concentration (2 mM had no stronger effects than 0.25 mM), so small amounts of this substance were sufficient for a sustained efficiency in promoting hardening against chilling temperatures. This is the first report on priming of lettuce for cold tolerance by using S-methylmethionine (vitamin U), with a possible application in improvement of crop quality and productivity.



In press - Online First. Article has been peer reviewed, accepted for publication and published online without pagination. It will receive pagination when the issue will be ready for publishing as a complete number (Volume 47, Issue 3, 2019). The article is searchable and citable by Digital Object Identifier (DOI). DOI link will become active after the article will be included in the complete issue.



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How to Cite
FODORPATAKI, L., MOLNAR, K., TOMPA, B., & PLUGARU, S. R. C. (2019). Priming with Vitamin U Enhances Cold Tolerance of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 47(3).
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