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Infrared differential thermal analysis (IDTA) was used to monitor the velocity and pattern of ice propagation and deep supercooling of xylem parenchyma cells (XPCs) during freezing of stems of Castanea sativa L., Morus nigra L. and Quercus robur L. that exhibit a macro- and ring-porous xylem. Measurements were conducted on the surface of cross- and longitudinal stem sections. During high-temperature freezing exotherms (HTEs; -2.8 to -9.4°C), initial freezing was mainly observed in the youngest year ring of the sapwood (94%), but occasionally elsewhere (older year rings: 4%; bark: 2%). Initially, ice propagated rapidly in the largest xylem conduits. This resulted in a distinct freezing pattern of concentric circles in C. sativa and M. nigra. During HTEs, supercooling of XPCs became visible in Q. robur stems, but not in the other species that have narrower pith rays. Intracellular freezing of supercooled XPCs of Q. robur became visible by IDTA during low-temperature freezing exotherms (<-17.4 °C). Infrared differential thermal analysis revealed the progress and the two-dimensional pattern of XPC freezing. XPCs did not freeze at once, but rather small cell groups appeared to freeze at random anywhere in the xylem. By IDTA, ice propagation and deep supercooling in stems can be monitored at meaningful spatial and temporal resolutions.


Gilbert Neuner, Bingcheng Xu, Juergen Hacker. Velocity and pattern of ice propagation and deep supercooling in woody stems of Castanea sativa, Morus nigra and Quercus robur measured by IDTA. Tree physiology. 2010 Aug;30(8):1037-45

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PMID: 20616300

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