The structure of leaf photosynthetic elements was investigated on 42 boreal plant species characterized by different degrees of submergence (helophytes, neustophytes, and hydatophytes). Six main types of mesophyll structures were identified. Quantitative characteristics for the mesostructure of the photosynthetic apparatus in these groups were determined, such as the size and abundance of cells and chloroplasts in the mesophyll and epidermis, the number of plastids per cell in each tissue, the total surface area of the mesophyll cells, epidermal cells, and chloroplasts per unit leaf area. Analysis showed that quantitative characteristics of the photosynthetic apparatus in hydrophytes are determined by two factors: (a) the degree of leaf submergence and (b) the type of mesophyll structure. With an increasing degree of immersion in water, the mesophyll types change in a sequence isopalisade → dorsoventral → homogeneous. The leaves become thinner, their weight per unit area diminishes, cells and chloroplasts become less numerous (on a per unit leaf area basis), but their dimensions become larger. Adaptation to aquatic medium is also manifested in the increasing contribution of the epidermal tissue to the overall photosynthesis: in submerged leaves, the epidermis accounts for more than 50% of the photosynthetic activity. The occurrence of six structural types of leaves contrasting in their characteristics was confirmed by discriminatory analysis according to the qualitative parameters of mesophyll.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2004
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