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Anatomy and fructan distribution in vegetative organs of Dimerostemma vestitum (Asteraceae) from the campos rupestres

Taiza M. Silva Divina A.A. Vilhalva Moemy G. Moraes Rita de Cássia L. Figueiredo-Ribeiro About the authors

Among the compounds stored by plants, several functions are assigned to fructans, such as source of energy and protection against drought and extreme temperatures. In the present study we analyzed the anatomy and distribution of fructans in vegetative organs of Dimerostemma vestitum (Asteraceae), an endemic species from the Brazilian campos rupestres. D. vestitum has amphistomatic and pubescent leaves, with both glandular and non-glandular trichomes. In the basal aerial stem the medulla has two types of parenchyma, which differ from the apical portion. The xylopodium has mixed anatomical origin. Interestingly, although inulin-type fructans with high degree of polymerization were found in all analyzed organs except the leaves, the highest amount and maximum degree of polymerization were detected in the xylopodium. Inulin sphero-crystals were visualized under polarized light in the medulla and in the vascular tissues mainly in the central region of the xylopodium, which has abundant xylem parenchyma. Secretory structures accumulating several compounds but not inulin were identified within all the vegetative organs. The presence of these compounds, in addition to inulin, might be related to the strategies of plants to survive adverse conditions in a semi-arid region, affected seasonally by water restriction and frequently by fire.

Campo rupestre; fructans; inulin spherocrystals; secretory structures; xylopodium

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