Water loss and anatomical modifications in leaves of micropropagated banana plants during acclimatization

Studies concerning factors involved in the adaptation of micropropagated plants to ex vitro conditions are indispensable to define which procedures should be used during the acclimatization phase. The objective of this research was to evaluate the presence of stomata and epicuticular wax on water loss control in micropropagated banana plants. For 24 days axillary buds were rooted in MS medium supplemented with NAA (1mg L-1) and agar (6g L-1), and afterwards the plantlets were acclimatized for 120 days. The treatments consisted of the evaluation of in vitro leaves and at different acclimatization stages, as follows: T1 - leaves of plants at the end of the in vitro rooting phase T2 - persistent leaves of plants after 30 days of acclimatization; T3 - new leaves from plants after 30 days of acclimatization (transition leaves); T4 - transition leaves from plants after 60 days of acclimatization; T5 and T6 - new leaves from plants after 60 and 120 days of acclimatization, respectively. Data regarding stomatal density, relative water content and presence of epicuticular wax were also evaluated. It was verified that new leaves from plants rooted in vitro under mixotrophic condition presented hight stomatal density and hence a reduced control of water loss. The reduced transpiration of leaves formed during the acclimatization phase can be attributed to the small number of stomata per unit of leaf area associated to the largest capacity of these in restricting water loss, and the presence of epicuticular wax.

Musa spp.; stomata; leaf transpiration; epicuticular wax

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