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COSTA, Vanessa Pires da; HAYASHI, Adriana Hissae; CARVALHO, Maria Angela Machado de  and  SILVA, Emerson Alves da. Physiological, anatomical and ultrastructural aspects of the rhizome of Costus arabicus L. (Costaceae) under water deficit conditions. Hoehnea [online]. 2012, vol.39, n.1, pp.125-137. ISSN 2236-8906.

Costus arabicus L. is an herbaceous species, native to the forest that accumulates starch in the rhizome as the main reserve carbohydrate. Water stress is one the most important environmental factor that regulates plant growth and development, leading to changes in physiological, biochemical and anatomical traits. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of water deficit on the anatomy, carbohydrate concentration and ultrastructure of starch grains of the rhizome of Costus arabicus L. through the following water regimes: plants irrigated daily and every seven (7d) and 15 days (15d). Anatomical and ultrastructural traits of the rhizome, relative water content in leaves (RWC), leaf water potential (Ψw), osmotic potential of the rhizome (Ψo), total soluble sugars (TSS), reducing sugars (RS) and starch of the rhizome were evaluated. We observed significant reductions in Ψw and Ψs in 15d plants, but with small variations in the RWC. The anatomical analysis showed that the rhizome is covered by epidermis or stratified cork and there is a delimitation between the cortical and vascular regions. We detected the presence of numerous starch grains and idioblasts with phenolic contents in the parenchyma of the two regions. Changes in the anatomy of the rhizomes were only observed in plants irrigated every 15 days, in which cells of covering tissue and the outer cortical layers became more flattened and sinuous walls; however, no ultrastructural differences were observed on the starch grains. The water deficit imposed was sufficient to generate physiological, biochemical and anatomical changes in plants of C. arabicus L. Such alterations suggest the occurence of an avoidance mechanism and that anatomical changes were dependent of the intensity and duration of water deficit.

Keywords : drought; starch; water stress.

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