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Ann Bot. 2002 Jan;89(1):23-9.

Structure and development of stomata on the primary root of Ceratonia siliqua L.

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Department of Botany, University of Athens, Greece.


Stomata of various sizes are produced on the primary root of Ceratonia siliqua L. Most are generated during embryogenesis, prior to seed desiccation. They can be detected on the dry embryo in a wide zone just above the root tip. Initially, large stomata are formed. These have the ability to induce divisions of their neighbouring cells, creating particular cell patterns around them. Later, small perigenous stomata are generated. As the root grows following seed germination, the stomatal zone overlaps with that of the root hairs. Although root stomata of C. siliqua undergo a structural differentiation that seems almost identical to that of the elliptical stomata formed on leaves, they are unable to move and remain permanently open. Polarizing microscopy of fully differentiated stomata and young stomata at the stage of stomatal pore formation revealed deposition of radial cellulose microfibril systems on their periclinal walls. However, these systems were less developed than those on leaf stomata, a feature that might be responsible for their inactivity. Besides, plastids of the root guard cells (GCs) do not differentiate into chloroplasts but function solely as amyloplasts. Root stomata have a short life span. During rapid and intense root growth, GCs cannot keep pace with the elongation of their neighbouring rhizodermal cells. They therefore split in their mid-region, transversely to the stoma axis. The two parts of the transversely torn stoma are dragged apart and a large opening is formed on the root surface, just above the substomatal cavity. The root stomata, together with these openings, may facilitate increased gaseous exchange during respiration and/or an increased transfer of some nutrients and water in the rapidly growing primary root.

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