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Planta. 2017 Mar;245(3):507-521. doi: 10.1007/s00425-016-2621-4. Epub 2016 Nov 25.

Morphological and structural characterization of the attachment system in aerial roots of Syngonium podophyllum.

Author information

1
College of Materials Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, 510640, China.
2
College of Materials Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, 510640, China. wldeng@scut.edu.cn.

Abstract

The attachment of aerial roots of Syngonium podophyllum involves a multi-step process adjusted by multi-scale structures. Helical-crack root hairs are first found in the attachment system, representing specialized structures for surface anchorage. The morphological variability of attachment organs reflects diverse climbing strategies. One such anchoring mode in clinging-climbers involves the time-dependent interaction between roots and the support: By naturally occurring adhesive roots with root hairs, the plant can ascend on supports of any shape and size. As a typical root-climber, Syngonium podophyllum develops elongate aerial roots at nodes. Here, we studied its attachment behavior from the external morphology to the internal structure in detail. Through SEM and LM observation on several root-substrate interfaces, we suggested that the attachment of aerial roots was mediated by a multi-step process, in which root hairs played significant roles in releasing mucilaginous substance and securing the durable anchorage. We summarized all the types of shape changes of root hairs with particular focus on the abnormal transition from a tube to a helical-crack ribbon. We demonstrated our understanding with respect to the formation of the helical-crack root hairs, based on the structural evidence of cellulose microfibrils orientation on the cell wall lamellae. The helical-crack root hairs serving as energy-dissipating units retard the failure of adhesion under high winds and loads.

KEYWORDS:

Aerial roots; Attachment systems; Climbing plants; Helical-crack; Root hairs; Syngonium

PMID:
27888361
DOI:
10.1007/s00425-016-2621-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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