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Planta

, Volume 206, Issue 2, pp 315–321 | Cite as

Ultrastructure and chemistry of the cell wall of the moss Rhacocarpus purpurascens (Rhacocarpaceae): a puzzling architecture among plants

  • H. G. Edelmann
  • C. Neinhuis
  • M. Jarvis
  • B. Evans
  • E. Fischer
  • W. Barthlott
Article

Abstract.

The architectural, compositional and functional characteristics of the cell walls of the leaves of the moss Rhacocarpus purpurascens (Brid.) Par. have been analysed by scanning and transmission electron microscopy, wall-extraction methods, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and water-retention experiments. Four-layered cell walls with a peculiar architecture which, so far, appears to be unique among plants were apparent. The architecture of the walls was not affected by sequential wall-extraction procedures. Subsequent analysis of the residual pre-extracted walls by classical spectro-photometrical methods revealed that the walls are composed of mainly lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose in a ratio of about 9:8:5, determining their integrity. This was supported by NMR spectroscopy. The resonance spectrum showed various characteristics typical of lignin; however, some specific peaks associated with lignin were missing. The walls exhibited no particular properties for external water conduction but seem to be adapted to rapid absorption of fog, dew, or rain.

Key words: Cell wall (composition ultrastructure) Leaf (moss) Water conduction Rhacocarpus (cell walls) 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. G. Edelmann
    • 2
  • C. Neinhuis
    • 1
  • M. Jarvis
    • 3
  • B. Evans
    • 3
  • E. Fischer
    • 1
  • W. Barthlott
    • 1
  1. 1.Botanisches Institut der Universität Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 170, D-53115 Bonn, FR6
  2. 2.Botanisches Institut der Universität Bonn, Venusbergweg 22, D-53115 Bonn, FR6
  3. 3.Chemistry Department, Glasgow University, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UKGB

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