Abscisic acid (ABA) levels in 3-mm apical root segments of slowly droughted sunflower plants ( Helianthus annuus L. cv Russian Giant) were analyzed as the methyl ester by selected ion monitoring gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using characteristic ions. An internal standard, hexadeuterated ABA (d6ABA) was used for quantitative analysis. Sunflower seedlings, grown in aeroponic chambers, were slowly droughted over a 7-day period. Drought stress increased ABA levels in the root tips at 24, 72, and 168 hour sample times. Control plants had 57 to 106 nanograms per gram ABA dry weight in the root tips (leaf water potential, −0.35 to −0.42 megapascals). The greatest increase in ABA, about 20-fold, was found after 72 hours of drought (leaf water potential, −1.34 to −1.47 megapascals). Levels of ABA also increased (about 7− to 54-fold) in 3-mm apical root segments which were excised and then allowed to dessicate for 1 hour at room temperature.
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