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Morphology, Development, and Recrystallization of Epicuticular Waxes of Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense)

  • Chester G. McWhorter (a1), Rex N. Paul (a1) and William L. Barrentine (a1)

Abstract

Johnsongrass leaves were covered with epicuticular wax that varied from 16 to 25 μg/cm2 on leaf blades and 56 to 206 μg/cm2 on leaf sheaths. At emergence, leaves were covered with a layer of smooth amorphous wax, but crystalline wax (wax plates) began to form on the amorphous wax within 1 or 2 days. This continued until all leaf surfaces were covered with wax plates. At 3 to 4 weeks of age, a smooth layer of coalescence wax was deposited over the wax plates. Formation of coalescence wax continued until nearly all leaf surfaces were covered with a smooth wax layer. Production of wax filaments began when plants were 3 to 4 weeks old and these tubular structures extended 100 to 200 μm above all other wax formations. Deposition of amorphous wax continued after stomata closed in the darkness, sealing over stomata, but the wax layer was broken when stomata opened again in the light. A capillary method was devised that was used to evaporate chloroform containing leaf waxes through 0.1- to 1.2-μm pores in inert filters to recrystallize amorphous wax and wax plates similar to that produced on johnsongrass leaves. Recrystallization of wax from wax filaments dissolved in chloroform produced the same structures of amorphous wax and wax plates as when only wax from leaves with amorphous wax and wax plates was used. Wax washed from leaves also produced wax plates and a variety of crystalline structures on the walls of glass vials after chloroform solutions were evaporated. This result indicated that the morphology of epicuticular waxes is influenced more by their inherent chemical and physical properties than by underlying cells or the cuticular membrane.

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Keywords

Morphology, Development, and Recrystallization of Epicuticular Waxes of Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense)

  • Chester G. McWhorter (a1), Rex N. Paul (a1) and William L. Barrentine (a1)

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