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Silica deposition in abaxial epidermis before the opening of leaf blades of Pleioblastus chino (Poaceae, Bambusoideae)

Motomura, H., Fijii, T., Suzuki, M.
Annals of botany 2006 v.97 no.4 pp. 513-519
Poaceae, water uptake, seasonal variation, silica, longevity, leaves, developmental stages, chemical constituents of plants, quantitative analysis, plant anatomy, ultrastructure
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Silica deposition is one of the important characteristics of the family Poaceae. The distribution, deposition process and physiology of silica in this family have been extensively investigated. Bamboos among members of Poaceae have leaves with a fairly long life span, and the leaves continuously accumulate silica in their tissues throughout their life, not only during the course of leaf opening, but also after opening. It has been revealed that the silica deposition process in relation to ageing of the bamboo leaf after opening differed depending on the cell types comprising the tissues. However, silica deposition has never been examined during the development and maturation periods of bamboo leaves. Hence, to clarify the silica deposition process in a developmental stage of the bamboo leaf, distribution of silica was observed in the abaxial epidermis before the opening of the leaf blades of Pleioblastus chino. METHODS: Abaxial epidermal tissues of leaves were examined using a scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray microanalyser. KEY RESULTS: Among seven cell types comprising the abaxial epidermis, three types of cells, guard cells, prickle hairs and silica cells, deposited silica conspicuously, and another four types, cork cells, long cells, micro hairs and subsidiary cells, deposited only a little silica. Among the former group of cell types, silica cells and guard cells deposited silica over their entire surfaces, while prickle hairs deposited silica only in the point-tips. Silica deposition was detected firstly in prickle hairs, and then in silica cells and guard cells. Only silica cells were assumed to deposit silica conspicuously before leaf opening but not conspicuously after opening. CONCLUSIONS: Cell types in leaf epidermis of bamboo are classified into three groups according to the silica deposition pattern. Silica deposition in silica cells may be positive as a part of the physiological activities of leaves.