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Chemical composition of the epicuticular and intracuticular wax layers on adaxial sides of Rosa canina leaves

TitleChemical composition of the epicuticular and intracuticular wax layers on adaxial sides of Rosa canina leaves
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBuschhaus, C, Herz, H, Jetter, R
JournalAnnals of Botany
Volume100
Pagination1557-1564
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number0305-7364
Abstract

Background and Aims The waxy cuticle is the first point of contact for many herbivorous and pathogenic organisms on rose plants. Previous studies have reported the average composition of the combined wax extract from both sides of rose leaves. Recently, the compositions of the waxes on the adaxial and abaxial surfaces of Rosa canina leaves were determined separately. In this paper, a first report is made on the compositions of the epicuticular and intracuticular wax layers of Rosa canina leaves. The methods described enable the determination of which compounds are truly available at the surface for plant-organism interactions. Methods An adhesive was used to mechanically strip the epicuticular wax from the adaxial leaf surface and the removal was visually confirmed using scanning electron microscopy. After the epicuticular wax had been removed, the intracuticular wax was then isolated using standard chemical extraction. Gas chromatography, flame ionization detection and mass spectrometry were used to identify and quantify compounds in the separated wax mixtures. Key Results The epicuticular wax contained higher concentrations of alkanes and alkyl esters but lower concentrations of primary alcohols and alkenols when compared to the intracuticular wax. In addition, the average chain lengths of these compound classes were higher in the epicuticular wax. Secondary alcohols were found only in the epicuticular layer while triterpenoids were restricted mainly to the intracuticular wax. Conclusions A gradient exists between the composition of the epi- and intracuticular wax layers of Rosa canina leaves. This gradient may result from polarity differences, in part caused by differences in chain lengths. The outer wax layer accessible to the phyllosphere showed a unique composition of wax compounds. The ecological consequences from such a gradient may now be probed.

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