Brazilian Journal of Botany
versão On-line ISSN 1806-9959
MARTINI, Maria Helena; FIGUEIRA, Antonio; LENCI, Camila Gonçalves e TAVARES, Débora de Queiroz. Polyphenolic cells and their interrelation with cotyledon cells in seven species of Theobroma (Sterculiaceae). Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.3, pp. 425-431. ISSN 1806-9959. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84042008000300006.
The amount of cotyledon polyphenolic cells varies extensively within the Theobroma species. The polyphenolic compounds of these cells play a protective role and furthermore have an important function in the development of chocolate flavour. The morphology of the polyphenolic cells of the mesophyll is described and the development of these idioblasts in Theobroma cacao L., T. subincanum Mart., T. obovatum Klotzsch ex Bernoulli, T. grandiflorum (Willd. ex Spreng.) K. Schum., T. microcarpum Mart., T. bicolor Bonpl. and T. speciosum Willd. ex Spreng analysed. The total polyphenolic content in the seeds as determined by spectrophotometry showed a variation of about forty times. The alive, transparent polyphenolic cells are scattered throughout the cotiledonary mesophyll. However the polyphenolic cells of T. cacao and T. grandiflorum are also aligned perpendicularly with respect to the mesophyll borders and, in addition, both species display polyphenolic cells with a natural translucent purple colour. All the species analysed contained polyphenolic cells scattered throughout the parenchymal cells and also in a lengthwise association with vascular bundles. In T. bicolor and T. speciosum, the species with the lowest polyphenolic contents, these cells were mostly located around the vascular bundles. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy, the polyphenolic cells demonstrated a complex cytoarchitecture, and after fixing with glutaraldhyde, the polyphenolic secretion was shown to remain as a single unit or was organized into round droplets. Transmission Electron Microscopy displayed immature plastids from young mesophyll cells containing eletron-dense deposits similar to phenolic substances, suggesting that Theobroma plastids are involved in the synthesis of phenolics.
Palavras-chave : cotyledon mesophyll cells; polyphenolic cells development; seed; Theobroma.