Freezing pattern and frost killing temperature of apple (Malus domestica) wood under controlled conditions and in nature.
In acclimated winter twigs of Haralson apple (Pyrus Malus L.), a lag in temperature during cooling at a constant rate was observed at about -41 C by differential thermal analysis. The temperature at which this low temperature exotherm occurred was essentially unaffected by the cooling rate. During thawing there was no lag in temperature (endotherm) near the temperature at which the low temperature exotherm occurred, but upon subsequent refreezing the exotherm reappeared at a somewhat higher temperature when twigs were rewarmed to at least -5 C before refreezing. These observations indicate that a small fraction of water may remain unfrozen to as low as -42 C after freezing of the bulk water in stems. The low temperature exotherm was not present in twigs freeze-dried to a water content below 8.5% (per unit fresh weight), but it reappeared when twigs were rehydrated to 20% water. When freeze-dried twigs were ground to a fine powder prior to rehydration, no exotherm was observed. Previous work has shown that the low temperature exotherm arises from xylem and pith tissues, and that injury to living cells in these tissues invariably occurs only when twigs are cooled below, but not above the temperature of the low temperature exotherm. This study revealed that the low temperature exotherm resulted from the freezing of a water fraction, that the freezing of this water was independent of the freezing of the bulk water, that the exotherm was associated with some gross structural feature but not the viability of the tissue, and that injury to living cells in the xylem and pith was closely and perhaps causally related to the initial freezing of this water.