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Anatomy and lignin distribution in reaction phloem fibres of several Japanese hardwoods

Nakagawa, Kaori, Yoshinaga, Arata, Takabe, Keiji
Annals of botany 2012 v.110 no.4 pp. 897-904
Acer rufinerve, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Mallotus japonicus, Melia azedarach, acriflavine, confocal laser scanning microscopy, hardwood, light microscopy, lignin, phloem, potassium, tension wood, transmission electron microscopy, trees, wood fibers
Background and Aims Although tension wood formation and the structure of gelatinous fibres (G-fibres) have been widely investigated, studies of the influence of the reaction phenomenon on phloem fibres have been few and incomplete in comparison with those of xylem wood fibres. This study was undertaken to clarify the influence of stem inclination on phloem fibres using several Japanese hardwood species that produce different G-fibre types in tension wood. Methods Eight hardwood species were inclined at 30–45° at the beginning of April. Specimens were collected in July and December. The cell-wall structure and lignin distribution of phloem fibres on both the tension and opposite sides were compared by light microscopy, ultraviolet microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy after staining with acriflavine, and transmission electron microscopy after staining with potassium permanganate. Key Results Three types of changes were found in tension-side phloem fibres: (1) increases in the proportion of the syringyl unit in lignin in the S ₁ and S ₂ layers and compound middle lamella (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), (2) formation of unlignified gelatinous layers (Melia azedarach and Acer rufinerve) and (3) increases in the number of layers (n) in the multi-layered structure of S ₁ + S ₂ + n (G + L) (Mallotus japonicus). Other species showed no obvious change in cell-wall structure or lignin distribution. Conclusions Phloem fibres of the tree species examined in our study showed three types of changes in lignin distribution and cell-wall structure. The reaction phenomenon may vary with tree species and may not be closely related to G-fibre type in tension wood.