The roles of abscisic acid and ethylene in the abscission and senescence of cocoa flowers

Madhu Aneja, Thomas Gianfagna, Edward Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Cocoa flowers have a limited period of longevity; more than 90% of unpollinated flowers abscised within 32 h after anthesis. Abscisic acid (ABA) levels increased significantly prior to abscission. By 21 h after anthesis, ABA levels had increased almost 10-fold, and by 32 h flowers had 20-fold higher levels of ABA than at anthesis. Fluridone completely inhibited both the increase in ABA, the formation of an abscission zone, and the abscission and senescence of flowers. In contrast, ethylene production increased only slightly 21 h after anthesis and was only 2-fold higher after 32 h. Aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG) delayed but did not prevent abscission. In cocoa flowers, ABA is the primary regulator of abscission; ethylene accelerates abscission but only in the presence of ABA. Naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) treatment of flowers at anthesis prevented abscission zone formation and flower abscission, but did not induce fruit set. All parts of the NAA-treated flower except the pedicel senesced after 6 days. NAA+AVG treatment only delayed, whereas fluridone treatment completely prevented flower senescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Growth Regulation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


  • Aminoethoxyvinylglycine
  • Cacao
  • Fluridone
  • Naphthalene acetic acid
  • Theobroma cacao

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