The amount of parenchyma and living fibers affects storage of nonstructural carbohydrates in young stems and roots of temperate trees

L. Plavcová, Gunther Hoch, H. Morris, S. Ghiasi, S. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Premise of the study: Concentrations of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs) are used as proxies for the net carbon balance of trees and as indicators of carbon starvation resulting from environmental stress. Woody organs are the largest NSC-storing compartments in forest ecosystems; therefore, it is essential to understand the factors that affect the size of this important storage pool. In wood, NSC are predominantly deposited in ray and axial parenchyma (RAP); however, direct links between nutrient storage and RAP anatomy have not yet been established. Here, we tested whether the NSC storage capacity of wood is influenced by the amount of RAP.

Methods: We measured NSC concentrations and RAP fractions in root and stem sapwood of 12 temperate species sampled at the onset of winter dormancy and in stem sapwood of four tropical trees growing in an evergreen lowland rainforest. The patterns of starch distribution were visualized by staining with Lugol's solution.

Key results: The concentration of NSCs in sapwood of temperate trees scales tightly with the amount of RAP and living fibers (LFs), with almost all RAP and LFs being densely packed with starch grains. In contrast, the tropical species had lower NSC concentrations despite their higher RAP and LFs fraction and had considerable interspecific differences in starch distribution.

Conclusions: The differences in RAP and LFs abundance affect the ability of sapwood to store NSC in temperate trees, whereas a more diverse set of functions of RAP might be pronounced in species growing in a tropical environment with little seasonality.

Keywords: axial parenchyma; carbohydrates; living fibers; rays; starch; storage; wood; xylem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-612
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume103
Issue number4
Early online date18 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

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