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Naturwissenschaften. 2013 Jan;100(1):111-5. doi: 10.1007/s00114-012-0999-9. Epub 2012 Nov 24.

Approximate bilateral symmetry in evaporation-induced polycrystalline structures from droplets of wheat grain leakages and fluctuating asymmetry as quality indicator.

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  • 1Department of Agroenvironmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 42, 40127, Bologna, Italy.


The present paper reports on an observation that dendrite-like polycrystalline structures from evaporating droplets of wheat grain leakages exhibit bilateral symmetry. The exactness of this symmetry, measured by means of fluctuating asymmetry, varies depending on the cultivar and stress factor influence, and seems to correspond to the seed germination rate. In the bodies of plants, animals, and humans, the exactness of bilateral symmetry is known to reflect the environmental conditions of an organism's growth, its health, and its success in sexual selection. In polycrystalline structures, formed under the same conditions, the symmetry exactness depends on the properties of the crystallizing solution such as the composition and viscosity; however, it has never been associated with sample quality. We hypothesize here that, as in living nature, the exactness of approximate bilateral symmetry might be considered a quality indicator also in crystallographic methods applied to food quality analysis.

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