The quality of barley husk-caryopsis adhesion is not correlated with caryopsis cuticle permeability

Maree Brennan*, Linda Paterson, Anis Amalin Assaadah Baharudin, Maria Stanisz-Migal, PN Hoebe

*Corresponding author for this work

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Adhesion of the barley husk to the underlying caryopsis requires the development of a cuticular cementing layer on the caryopsis surface. Differences in adhesion quality among genotypes have previously been correlated with cementing layer composition, which is thought to influence caryopsis cuticle permeability, the hypothesised mechanism of adhesion mediation. It is not yet known whether differences in adhesion quality among genotypes are determined by changes in caryopsis cuticle permeability. We examined changes in candidate cementing layer biosynthetic and regulatory genes to investigate the genetic mechanisms behind husk adhesion quality. We used both commercially relevant UK malting cultivars and older European lines to ensure phenotypic diversity in adhesion quality. An ethylene responsive transcription factor (NUD) is required for the development of the cementing layer To examine correlations between gene expression, cementing layer permeability and husk adhesion quality we also treated cultivars with ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) which breaks down to ethylene, and silver thiosulphate which inhibits ethylene reception, and measured caryopsis cuticle permeability. Differential adhesion qualities among genotypes are not determined by NUD expression during development of the cementing material alone, but could result from differences in biosynthetic gene expression during cementing layer development in response to longer-term NUD expression patterns. Altered caryopsis cuticle permeability does result in altered adhesion quality, but the correlation is not consistently positive or negative. Cuticle permeability is therefore not the mechanism that determines husk adhesion quality, but is likely a consequence of the required cuticular compositional changes that determine adhesion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number153054
JournalJournal of Plant Physiology
Early online date3 Oct 2019
Publication statusPrint publication - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


  • Barley (Hordeum vulgare)
  • Caryopsis development
  • Cementing layer
  • Grain skinning
  • Husk adhesion
  • Plant cuticle permeability


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