, Volume 221, Issue 5, pp 648–655

Size selectivity of aqueous pores in stomatous cuticles of Vicia faba leaves

  • Thomas K. Schlegel
  • Jörg Schönherr
  • Lukas Schreiber
Original Article


Size selectivity of aqueous pores in Vicia leaf cuticles was investigated by measuring the penetration of calcium salts into the abaxial surface of detached leaves. Molecular weights of salts ranged from 111 g mol−1 to 755 g mol−1. Penetration in light at 20°C and 100% humidity was a first order process and rate constants of penetration ranged from 0.39 h−1 (CaCl2) to 0.058 h−1 (Ca-lactobionate). Penetration was a first order process in the dark as well, but the rate constants were smaller by a factor of 1.82. Plotting logarithmatised rate constants versus anhydrous molecular weights resulted in straight lines both in light and in the dark. The slopes per hour were very similar and the average slope was −1.2×10−3 mol g−1. Hence, size selectivity was not affected by stomatal opening, and in light or darkness permeability of Vicia cuticles decreased by a factor of 2.9 when molecular weight increased from 100 g mol−1 to 500 g mol−1. Silver nitrate was preferentially precipitated as silver chloride in guard cells, glandular trichomes and at the base of trichomes. It was concluded that these precipitates mark the location of aqueous pores in Vicia leaf cuticles. The size selectivity of aqueous pores in Vicia leaf cuticles is small compared to that observed in poplar leaf cuticles, in which permeability decreased by a factor of 7–13 for the same range of molecular weights. It is also much smaller than size selectivity of the lipophilic pathway in cuticles. These findings suggest that active ingredients of pesticides, growth regulators and chemical inducers with high molecular weights penetrate leaves at higher rates when formulated as ions.


Chemical inducers Foliar nutrients Ion permeability Pesticides Penetration Promoters Stomata Trichomes 



Cuticular membrane


Energy dispersive X-ray


Light microscope


Point of deliquescence


Scanning electron microscope


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas K. Schlegel
    • 1
  • Jörg Schönherr
    • 1
  • Lukas Schreiber
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Vegetable and Fruit ScienceUniversity of HannoverSarstedtGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Cellular and Molecular Botany (IZMB)University of BonnBonnGermany

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