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Ann Bot. 2004 Jan;93(1):25-37.

Seasonal variation of organogenetic activity and reserves allocation in the shoot apex of Pinus pinaster Ait.

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Université Henri Poincaré, Nancy I, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, UMR INRA/UHP no. 1136,Interactions Arbres/Micro-organismes, BP 239, F-54506 Vandoeuvre Cedex, France.



To understand better the basic growth characteristics of pines and the fundamental properties of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), variations within the shoot apex of buds were studied.


A detailed structural comparison of meristem dimensions, organogenetic activity, and the presence of lipids, starch grains and tannins was performed on shoot apices of juvenile, and male and female adult Pinus pinaster at five different times in the annual growth cycle.


There were significant correlations among traits and differences in the pattern for juvenile and adult shoots. In juvenile shoots, peaks of organogenesis were present in spring and autumn, but not in summer. In adult shoots, one peak, characterized by an increase in meristem dimensions, was present in summer. The accumulation of starch grains beneath the SAM and of tannin in sub-apical pith parenchyma were at their maximum when organogenetic activity was high in spring and autumn in juvenile plants, and in summer in adult plants. In juvenile and adult plants, lipids were stored within the SAM in autumn, filling a large part of the bud in winter, and were depleted in the cortical parenchyma and then in the pith during shoot elongation.


Depending on the sites of accumulation within the SAM and on the stage of the annual growth cycle, lipids, starch and tannins may be involved in different processes. In spring, energy and structural materials released by lipid hydrolysis may contribute to stem elongation and/or cell-to-cell communication. During organogenesis, energy and structural materials released by starch hydrolysis may influence developmental programmes in the SAM and adjacent cells. Tannins may be involved in cellular detoxification. At the end of the growing season, accumulation of lipid and starch is positively correlated with the onset of dormancy.

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