Cellular Features of the Fronds and Turions in Spirodela polyrhiza

  • Received : 2013.10.31
  • Accepted : 2013.12.09
  • Published : 2013.12.30


Structural aspects of highly reduced vegetative organs in the aquatic Spirodela polyrhiza were examined using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The study focused mainly on young and mature fronds with turions and their cellular features were compared. Mature fronds were composed of thin-walled chlorenchyma with highly vacuolated cells; most of which were frequently occupied by either tanniferous deposits or various crystals. Fronds of photoautotrophic offspring were produced from the meristematic region of the reproductive pockets within mother fronds, where they remained until separation. Moderate degrees of wall ingrowth and plasmalemma proliferation were detected briefly in the epidermis of daughter fronds during early development. Vascular tissues were generally much reduced, but air chambers were well-established in fronds. Chloroplasts having grana with several thylakoids were distributed throughout the plant, but starch grains were encountered frequently in the mesophyll chloroplasts of younger fronds and initial stage of the turion. Their cytoplasm was dense with small vacuoles in most cases. Further, big starch grains, up to several microns, occupying most of the plastid volume were formed in the turion prior to sink for overwintering. Plasmodesmata were numerous in the examined tissues, except mature turions, suggesting a symplastic pathway of the metabolites within body.


Spirodela polyrhiza;Ultrastructure;Frond;Turion;Electron microscopy


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