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New Phytol. 2006;171(3):469-99.

The effects of stress on plant cuticular waxes.

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Quality Health & Nutrition, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Mylnefield, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA.


Plants are subject to a wide range of abiotic stresses, and their cuticular wax layer provides a protective barrier, which consists predominantly of long-chain hydrocarbon compounds, including alkanes, primary alcohols, aldehydes, secondary alcohols, ketones, esters and other derived compounds. This article discusses current knowledge relating to the effects of stress on cuticular waxes and the ways in which the wax provides protection against the deleterious effects of light, temperature, osmotic stress, physical damage, altitude and pollution. Topics covered here include biosynthesis, morphology, composition and function of cuticular waxes in relation to the effects of stress, and some recent findings concerning the effects of stress on regulation of wax biosynthesis are described.

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