, Volume 228, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

In situ analysis of cell wall polymers associated with phloem fibre cells in stems of hemp, Cannabis sativa L.

  • Anthony W. Blake
  • Susan E. Marcus
  • James E. Copeland
  • Richard S. Blackburn
  • J. Paul KnoxEmail author
Original Article


A study of stem anatomy and the sclerenchyma fibre cells associated with the phloem tissues of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) plants is of interest for both understanding the formation of secondary cell walls and for the enhancement of fibre utility as industrial fibres and textiles. Using a range of molecular probes for cell wall polysaccharides we have surveyed the presence of cell wall components in stems of hemp in conjunction with an anatomical survey of stem and phloem fibre development. The only polysaccharide detected to occur abundantly throughout the secondary cell walls of phloem fibres was cellulose. Pectic homogalacturonan epitopes were detected in the primary cell walls/intercellular matrices between the phloem fibres although these epitopes were present at a lower level than in the surrounding parenchyma cell walls. Arabinogalactan-protein glycan epitopes displayed a diversity of occurrence in relation to fibre development and the JIM14 epitope was specific to fibre cells, binding to the inner surface of secondary cell walls, throughout development. Xylan epitopes were found to be present in the fibre cells (and xylem secondary cell walls) and absent from adjacent parenchyma cell walls. Analysis of xylan occurrence in the phloem fibre cells of hemp and flax indicated that xylan epitopes were restricted to the primary cell walls of fibre cells and were not present in the secondary cell walls of these cells.


Cell wall Fibre Flax Galactan Hemp Xylan 





Carbohydrate-binding module


Differential interference contrast




Milk protein


Phosphate-buffered saline




Transverse section



The authors acknowledge funding from the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI Project No: TP/3/BIO/6/I/15563). Authors also thank Sue Riddlestone and Robert Franck for useful discussions and Emily Stott for her hard work in the management of the collaborative project. They are grateful to Prof. Harry Gilbert (University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne) for providing the CBMs and Dr Cécile Hervé for providing the sections of flax stems.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony W. Blake
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susan E. Marcus
    • 1
  • James E. Copeland
    • 3
  • Richard S. Blackburn
    • 2
  • J. Paul Knox
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Green Chemistry Group, Centre for Technical TextilesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Central Science LaboratoryYorkUK

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