The deleterious effects of Mn stress on many species have been studied, mainly concerning biochemical, physiological and growth parameters of plants. However, there are few studies relating the anatomical and ultrastructural changes in response to manganese (Mn) nutritional disorders, This study examined the leaf ultrastructure of Mn-inefficient (IAC-15, Santa Rosa) and Mn-efficient (IAC-Foscarin 31) soybean (Glycine max L.) genotypes in response to three rates of Mn (0.5, 2 and 200 µmol L-1) in the nutrient solution. Symptoms of Mn deficiency developed 12 days after transplanting in IAC-15 and Santa Rosa, followed by IAC-Foscarin 31 on the 15th day. Only IAC-15 and Santa Rosa leaves showed symptoms of Mn toxicity. The Mn concentration in leaves ranged from 8.6 (deficiency) to 886.3 mg kg-1 d.w. (toxicity). There were no changes either in stomata length or stomata number per unit of leaf surface. Cytoplasm disorganization was observed in IAC-15 under Mn-excess. In this case, the cytoplasm was amorphous, densely stained and extensively disorganized, with increased vacuolation. Mn effects were not found in mitochondria and nucleus in any of the genotypes tested. Under all Mn concentrations, many lipid globules were observed in the IAC15 chloroplasts. There was an increase in the number of plastids as well as in the size of starch grains within IAC-Foscarin 31 chloroplasts as Mn concentration in the nutrient solution increased. Genotypes had marked differences in the ultrastructure organization, mainly in leaf chloroplasts grown under conditions of both Mn deficiency and toxicity (the most sensitive genotype was IAC-15).
chloroplast; deficiency; plant nutrition; toxicity