, Volume 145, Issue 5, pp 411–416 | Cite as

The effect of caffeine, different fixation regimes and low temperature on microtubules in the cells of higher plants

Evidence for diversity in their response to chemical and physical treatments
  • B. E. Juniper
  • J. R. Lawton


Caffeine, (1:3:7-tri-methyl-xanthine), either as a prefixation treatment or included with glutaralde-hyde as the primary fixative, destroys or disorganises the microtubules associated with the formation of secondary walls in fibres from the flowering stem of the grass Lolium temulentum L. There is no observable effect of caffeine treatment on the microtubules associated with primary wall formation in collenchyma and young fibres from L. temulentum or in root cap cells of Zea mays L. and Phaseolus vulgaris L. The microtubules associated with primary wall formation are destroyed by cold treatment but not those associated with secondary wall formation. Tannic acid included in the fixative shows the microtubules associated with secondary wall formation in fibres of L. temulentum to be composed of 13 subunits. Treatment with lanthanum hydroxide does not stain the core or the halo of the microtubules.

Key words

Caffeine Cold temperature Lanthanum Microtubules Plant cells Tannic acid 



Piperazine N-N- bis 2 ethanol sulphonic acid


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. E. Juniper
    • 1
  • J. R. Lawton
    • 2
  1. 1.Botany SchoolOxford
  2. 2.The Grassland Research InstituteMaidenheadU.K.

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