Effects of salinity and benzyl adenine on development and function of microhairs of Zea mays L

Ramadan, T and Flowers, T J (2004) Effects of salinity and benzyl adenine on development and function of microhairs of Zea mays L. Planta, 219 (4). pp. 639-648. ISSN 0032-0935

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Bicellular microhairs are present on the surfaces of leaves of grasses with the exception of the Pooideae. In some halophytic grasses, these glandular hairs secrete salt, suggesting the intriguing question 'can the microhairs of grasses that do not normally encounter salinity also secrete salt?' Microhairs were counted in replicas of the adaxial and abaxial surfaces of leaves of various ages of maize plants growing either in the absence of salt or in the presence of 40, 80 or 120 mM NaCl. The number of microhairs per unit area of adaxial leaf surface of the youngest leaf almost doubled as the salinity increased from zero to 120 mM NaCl; on the abaxial surface, the number of microhairs increased by 50%. Spraying this leaf with benzyl adenine (BA) caused, when averaged across salinities and surfaces, a 32% increase in the number of microhairs. Salinity reduced leaf area but in all the salinity treatments, spraying with BA increased the total number of microhairs per leaf. Washing leaves of plants provided estimates of the loss of salt from those leaves. There were large differences between the Na:K molar ratios in the washing solution and the leaf tissue, indicating a high selectivity for sodium over potassium for loss from the leaf. BA did not influence the efficiency of salt loss, expressed per microhair, at any salinity level, but did increase loss per leaf. Thus, BA increased salt loss from plants due to its influence on the number of microhairs and leaf area, but not due to its effect on the efficiency of the secretion process per se.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This publication examines an earlier suggestion by Flowers that microhairs on the leaves of grasses can secrete salt - and so could act as salt glands. Ramadan was a visitor from Egypt who carried out the practical work. Funded by a grant to Flowers; written by Flowers.
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany > QK0710 Plant physiology
Depositing User: Tim Flowers
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:55
Last Modified: 15 May 2012 09:06
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18948
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