Structural characteristics of the mesophyll were studied in five boreal grass species experiencing a wide range of light and water supply conditions. Quantitative indices of the palisade and spongy mesophyll tissues (cell and chloroplast sizes, the number of chloroplasts per cell, the total cell and chloroplast surface area per unit leaf surface area) were determined in leaves of each of the species. The cell surface area and the cell volume in spongy mesophyll were determined with a novel method based on stereological analysis of cell projections. An important role of spongy parenchyma in the photosynthetic apparatus was demonstrated. In leaves of the species studied, the spongy parenchyma constituted about 50% of the total volume and 40% of the total surface area of mesophyll cells. The proportion of the palisade to spongy mesophyll tissues varied with plant species and growth conditions. In a xerophyte Genista tinctoria, the total cell volume, cell abundance, and the total surface area of cells and chloroplasts were 30–40% larger in the palisade than in the spongy mesophyll. In contrast, in a shade-loving species Veronica chamaedris, the spongy mesophyll was 1.5–2 times more developed than the palisade mesophyll. In mesophyte species grown under high light conditions, the cell abundance and the total cell surface area were 10–20% greater in the palisade mesophyll than in the spongy parenchyma. In shaded habitats, these indices were similar in the palisade and spongy mesophyll or were 10–20% lower in the palisade mesophyll. In mesophytes, CO2 conductance of the spongy mesophyll accounted for about 50% of the total mesophyll conductance, as calculated from the structural characteristics, with the mesophyll CO2 conductance increasing with leaf shading.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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