Trichomes related to an unusual method of water retention and protection of the stem apex in an arid zone perennial species

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Lusa, Makeli Garibotti
Cardoso, Elaine Cristina
Machado, Silvia Rodrigues [UNESP]
Appezzato-da-Gloria, Beatriz

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Oxford Univ Press


It is well known that trichomes protect plant organs, and several studies have investigated their role in the adaptation of plants to harsh environments. Recent studies have shown that the production of hydrophilic substances by glandular trichomes and the deposition of this secretion on young organs may facilitate water retention, thus preventing desiccation and favouring organ growth until the plant develops other protective mechanisms. Lychnophora diamantinana is a species endemic to the Brazilian 'campos rupestres'(rocky fields), a region characterized by intense solar radiation and water deficits. This study sought to investigate trichomes and the origin of the substances observed on the stem apices of L. diamantinana. Samples of stem apices, young and expanded leaves were studied using standard techniques, including light microscopy and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Histochemical tests were used to identify the major groups of metabolites present in the trichomes and the hyaline material deposited on the apices. Non-glandular trichomes and glandular trichomes were observed. The material deposited on the stem apices was hyaline, highly hydrophilic and viscous. This hyaline material primarily consists of carbohydrates that result from the partial degradation of the cell wall of uniseriate trichomes. This degradation occurs at the same time that glandular trichomes secrete terpenoids, phenolic compounds and proteins. These results suggest that the non-glandular trichomes on the leaves of L. diamantinana help protect the young organ, particularly against desiccation, by deposition of highly hydrated substances on the apices. Furthermore, the secretion of glandular trichomes probably repels herbivore and pathogen attacks.



Asteraceae, Cell-wall degradation, Dehydration protection, Glandular trichomes, Histochemistry, Non-glandular trichomes

Como citar

Aob Plants. Oxford: Oxford Univ Press, v. 7, 10 p., 2015.