Ontogenetic Variations in the Chemical Composition of Maize Surface Lipids

  • P. Avato
  • G. Bianchi
  • F. Salamini


Morphological variations of wax surface structures during the ontogeny of many plants have been often observed1. Seedlings of maize are typically covered by a wax layer up to the fifth-sixth leaf stage of growth. From there on the leaf surface assumes a glossy appearance, which is maintained throughout the plant life2. Ultrastructural modifications of waxes induced by age are usually associated with changes in the chemical composition3. Thus, comparison of waxes from young seedlings and adult plants of maize revealed well defined differences in their chemistry. The results from the compositional analyses of the epicuticular waxes from maize at the two different stages of growth are the subject of the present contribution. Experimental data are also correlated with earlier observations on the biochemical pathways involved in the synthesis of maize surface lipids. Details on the experimental procedures are given in reference 4.


Mature Leaf Adult Plant Maize Seedling Ontogenetic Variation Ultrastructural Modification 


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  1. 1.
    E.A. Baker, Chemistry and morphology of plant epicuticular waxes, in: “The Plant Cuticle”, D.F. Cutler, K.L. Alvin, and C.E. Price, eds., Academic Press, Inc., New York (1982).Google Scholar
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    A. Bianchi and G. Marchesi, The surface of the leaf in normal and glossy maize seedlings, Z. Vererbungsl. 91: 214 (1960).Google Scholar
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    P. Avato, G. Bianchi, and G. Mariani, Epicuticular waxes of Sorghum and some compositional changes with plant age, Phytochem. 23: 2843 (1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    G. Bianchi, P. Avato, and F. Salamini, Surface waxes from grain, leaves, and husks of maize (Zea Mays L.), Cereal Chem. 61: 45 (1984).Google Scholar
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    A. Bianchi, G. Bianchi, P. Avato, and F. Salamini, Biosynthetic pathways of epicuticular wax of maize as assessed by mutation, light, plant age and inhibitor studies, Maydica 30: 179 (1985).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Avato
    • 1
  • G. Bianchi
    • 1
  • F. Salamini
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Chimica OrganicaUniversitàPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Max Planck Institut für ZüchtungsforschungKöln 30Germany

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