The relationship between superoxide dismutase (SOD) and chilling injury was examined in chilling-sensitive and chilling-resistant strains of Chlorella ellipsoidea. The sensitive strain contained less SOD than the resistant strain. Moreover, all of the SOD in the sensitive strain was the H2O2-sensitive, iron-containing SOD, whereas most of the SOD in the resistant strain was the H2O2-resistant, manganese-containing SOD. Illumination further enhanced the disparity in SOD content between the sensitive and resistant strains since the SOD in the former declined during illumination, whereas the SOD in the latter strain did not. It was possible to elevate the SOD content of the sensitive strain and to increase the proportion of MnSOD by prior growth in the presence of 50 μm paraquat. The SOD content of the cultures after 5 h of illumination at 4 °C fell in the order sensitive strain < paraquat-induced sensitive strain < resistant strain. The resistance of these cultures to chilling injury was related to SOD content. This was the case whether resistance was assessed in terms of growth rate after chilling, bleaching of chlorophyll during chilling, or loss of viability during chilling. It thus appears likely that O2-is an agent of chilling injury. © 1984.
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